Those that knew her name are long gone.
For she had come into this world even before the great Shinma War.
Her few comrades lost their lives in that war, and those that remained would soon follow by the hands of Heroes. Among those dragons that were left, she became known as the oldest.
Her appearance was that of a lizard with several horns protruding from the back of her head. She had a jaw full of sharp teeth and on her back grew a pair of bat-like wings.
The word 『dragon』 would evoke an appearance such as hers in the minds of most people, however, the reality is quite different. Some resemble wolves, others resemble lions, some have multiple heads, multiple pairs of wings and some have no wings at all.
But in all that, she alone had the ancient, traditional appearance. She did not take the form of a human, she did not use magic, but with her fangs, scales, and flames, she was more powerful and beautiful than any dragon.
That was her. Now, known only as 『Metus』, she was the oldest and strongest dragon.
Metus had lived a happy and peaceful existence for the past few hundred years. There were no longer any fools who wished to challenge her, not even amongst the Heroes. Her days passed as she slept in a coil atop thousands of years worth of hoarded treasure, devouring the occasional animal, monster or human that wandered into her lair.
She had accumulated the treasure over thousands, tens of thousands of years and was aware of it all, down to the last coin. She would stare at it and bask in the happiness it brought, losing herself in it even in her sleep. That people would occasionally visit and bring her treasure was her biggest joy.
However, she would not attack people for the sake of that joy. She was satisfied with just being left alone in the mountain cave, living out her final days in bliss.
But one day, something happened that would change her life. One of her crowns had vanished from her lair. She became red with rage and searched her nest for the missing crown. Yet the crown was never found, instead, she smelled the scent of three humans and one hobbit.
Someone had stolen one of her treasures while she was sleeping.
She went mad with rage and flew from her cave. Once she was outside, she could clearly sense the scent of the crown, and she flew through the clouds straight towards it. There was no time to enjoy the outside world she was seeing for the first time in hundreds of years. The only thought on her mind was to retrieve her treasure and to destroy the humans who stole it without mercy. To burn them all so that not even their ashes would remain.
She cut through the sky, faster than an arrow, finding the one who presently possessed her treasure in no time. This one had a different scent from those she had sensed in the cave, but it did not matter to her. By holding her treasure and being human, he became a natural target of her wrath.
Wolf himself, had made his mind. He held his treasure sword 『Flant』and prepared to meet Metus. His opponent was a dragon among dragons who had lived through the age of gods. Whether he was victorious or not, he knew that this would be the last fight of his life.
「All of you, stand back! Have the people evacuated!」
「B…but, your majesty…!」
「Do you mean to humiliate me?」
At the king’s words, the soldiers bowed and departed with teary eyes. A one-on-one battle between a Hero and a dragon was among the oldest and most honorable forms of battle.
But even with this knowledge, the soldiers could not stop themselves from picking up their spears. They had the clear sense that this would be the end for their leader.
Wolf realized that he had been smiling all this time.
This was it. This. This was the last battle worthy of him.
「My name is Wolf. Wolfdiel Sevran Ru Ela Grandiera I! Come, ancient dragon. Let us engage in honest combat!」
Wolf announced himself in a loud voice and swung his sword. In his youth, this sword had once been used to cut down a Hero giant in a single blow. However, the same blow only bounced off the scales of Metus without making a single scratch.
Poisonous flames spewed from Metus’ jaws towards Wolf. The flames immediately caused everything that surrounded Wolf to decay. Stones cracked and an area of death was created that no one could enter. If a soldier carelessly drew near, their arms would rot and fall, their lungs would succumb to the poison, preventing them from breathing.
Not even the Wolf the Hero, was immune. His skin was covered in sores and blood sprayed from all over his body. But the brave Hero king did not falter. Twice, thrice, his sharp blows slammed into Metus, and a spray of green blood emitted from her forehead.
And that blood too, was a deadly poison. Where the blood ran, the earth would crumble. It burned Wolf’s body. The metal armor, even the blade of the treasure sword that had been blessed by God was corrupted and broken.
The vicious battle between the two lasted for three days and three nights. The battle was so dangerous, that even the soldiers who had finished evacuating the citizens could do nothing to help.
And on the morning of the fourth day, the battle finally ended.
Metus had covered her soft belly that was bare of scales with treasure as if it was armor. But the crown that Aur had stolen had left a small opening that exposed her belly.
Wolf had pierced through it with his sword and skewered her heart. Metus went mad, she breathed her poisonous flames all about, but Wolf did not yield. Even as his shoulder and chest were torn by her sharp claws, he only pushed the sword in deeper and deeper.
Metus’ movements grew slower, and finally, that heart that had beaten for thousands of years ceased to move.
As before, the poisonous flames did not allow any to come near, to even peer into the area; yet the lone Demon Lord appeared.
「…You have my…gratitude…」
Wolf said with the remaining strength he could muster.
「My power…an enemy that I could face with all my body and soul…I have….waited so long…」
「Is that why you had your daughter and son killed?」
Wolf’s face turned to a smile of self-mockery at Aur’s question.
「Surely, you understand…we may be praised as Heroes…but in the end, we are merely slaves of Heaven…that will not change, even in death.」
Heroes are given tasks to elevate their souls.
The longer you live, the greater you become, the more terrible and cruel the task will be for the Hero to receive. And it will be the most remarkable when you die. The tasks will always involve something that is important to the Hero. And it will end with death and tragedy.
The youthful Yunis had died holding onto love.
Zaitlead had killed his beloved wife and he himself fell for a phantom.
And the aged Wolf, he would finally die, having caused the death of his beloved children and thousands of his own people.
「And so you thought that you would give them a more peaceful death? That is just your own delusions.」
「That…may be true.」
Wolf began to cough. The poison had taken his lungs, causing them to rot. It was unbelievable that he was still alive.
「O king…king of sorcery. I have a request, one king to the another…this country, please…」
「Very well. I will do it no harm. …Leave it to me.」
Wolf accepted Aur’s words without suspicion. They were both enemies with a hatred of the other. But there was also an odd feeling of trust between them.
「And…as a father, please. My daughter, I ask you…」
With those words said, Wolf expired.
「…If you are going to die, finish what you have to say first.」
There was no one that Aur’s words could have reached before they decayed and vanished.
「Yes. It was the late king’s final wish.」
Prime minister Toscan said with a reverent bow.
「If anyone defeated him, he would recognize them as the new king.」
「But I did not defeat him.」
「It is as you say. However, I do not believe the late king…Lord Wolf, would agree.」
Toscan declared with complete confidence. It was without a doubt, what the king would have said.
「He said that should his army lose by means of superior strategy, it should be considered as nothing less than total defeat for him.」
「…You must hate me.」
「More than I can express.」
Toscan did not even try to hide his hatred as he glared at Aur.
「The killer of my lord, my princess, his royal highness. Even one of those alone instills enough hatred within me to want you dead, and you’ve done all three. I hate you enough that I could never become bored of killing you.」
「Is the theft of your kingdom not among your reasons for wanting revenge?」
Aur let out an unexpected laugh. In spite of the intense hatred, the man was bound to swear loyalty to him through the words of the late king. Just how faithful could one man be?
「Such a matter does not compare to the lives of those that have died.」
「…And what would you do if I told you that I could bring them back to life?」
「…You mock me. The soul of fallen Heroes ascend to the heavens. It was you yourself that said that resurrection was not possible.」
Aur nodded. There was a slight hesitation in Toscan’s words.
「That is so. …It means that we have just to go and meet them ourselves.」
Toscan blinked his eyes and stared at Aur who had answered so plainly.
「To go and…meet them?」
「Is it not obvious?」
Aur pointed a finger at the sky and as if it were the most natural thing in the world said:
「We will attack the Heavens next.」