“Hey hey Shiggurath! Don’t just lie around sleeping! Let’s do something fun!”
A sweet cheerful voice reverberated in my head.
Seriously, why does she want to play every time we meet? From where does she get this much energy?
“No thanks.” (Shiggurath)
I refused curtly.
I have no intention of playing anyway. In fact, I don’t even want to associate with her. I’d much rather sleep.
“Eeeeehhhh. You never play with me. Hmph!”
She pouted and sat on the ground, pretending to be angry with me.
I know from personal experience that she won’t be getting up from there until I concede to her wishes. Seriously, what a child she is. That’s a human for you. No, before that, why does she even come almost every day to this secluded forest? To meet me? Is she acting friendly with me to make me drop my guard, and then try to use me for her personal gains?
“Haaahhhh….. fine. I’ll play.” (Shiggurath)
I’ll think about all that stuff later.
I sighed and reluctantly lifted my body, and signalled her with my eyes to hop on my back.
She squealed happily.
She has always said that we are friends and I’m always left asking, ‘Since when?’ I don’t remember ever accepting her friendship. Moreover, can dragons and humans even be friends? I don’t think so.
“Shiggurath…. *cough*…… save… me…..”
She, who just now was sitting on the ground smiling, was now standing extending her hand towards me, her body full of wounds. She coughed blood once, then fell on the ground, and stopped moving.
What had just happened? How did this happen?
I looked around, and found that the scenery around me had changed. Everything was on fire, the forest had been destroyed, while the sky was dyed red. There were also signs that a battle had occurred here.
No! This isn’t the time to be thinking such things! I have to go and save her! I cannot let my first friend die!
As I turned back to her, I saw another woman standing beside her, with a sword in her hand. The woman was battered up here and there, and it was nothing short of a miracle that she was still alive. Was this woman the one who did this my friend? Unforgivable!
Or so I had thought, but that woman dropped her sword, and then dejectedly fell to her knees. And then she screamed while looking up at the sky. It was the painful wail of someone who had just lost someone precious to her.
But I don’t have the time for this. I have to heal her, or she would die!
I raised my claw to cast healing magic, praying that I’d make it in time, but the woman who had just been screaming suddenly got up with her sword in her hand, and stood in front of me while pointing it towards me.
Does she intend to stop me?
“Get out of my way, you fool! I have to heal her, or she would die!” (Shiggurath)
“Heal her?! Who are you kidding?! You were the one who did this to her, along with that bastard Demon King. I swear I’ll kill both of you, no matter what I have to sacrifice!” (Woman)
I’m the one who did this to her? What nonsense is this woman spouting? Why would I hurt my own friend-
“You did this to me, Shiggurath.”
The surroundings abruptly changed. Darkness surrounded me, and she was standing, no, floating in front of me once again. She was alright now, and there was not even a single wound on her body.
So she’s healed now. That means she won’t die.
I heaved a sigh of relief. But where are we?
I was about to call her and ask what had happened earlier, but before I could do that, she spoke once again.
“You did this to me, Shiggurath. You killed me.”
I killed her? But she’s alright now. And why would I ever kill someone I hold dear? I asked her in confusion.
“What do you mean I killed you? You are standing in front of me right now. And why would I ever do that? Moreover, where are we even anyway? This doesn’t seem to-” (Shiggurath)
As I was asking, she underwent a sudden transformation in front of my eyes. Her body was now full of wounds, just like before. The change was so sudden that it felt those wounds had never actually disappeared. What the hell?
Moreover, tears were now streaming down her face, and her face was contorted in grief. She started shouting while pointing at me.
“You killed me Shiggurath! You said that you’d protect me no matter what, but you never came to help me when I needed you the most! Even that fucking Demon King betrayed me! Both of you were my friends, weren’t you?! So why?! Why did you betray me?!”
We betrayed her? And she died because of that? What is she talking about? There’s no way we would-
The scene in front of me once again changed, and I saw two people. One of them had stabbed the other’s heart with a sword. The one who had been stabbed was……….. her. And the one who had stabbed was……….
No, wait! This doesn’t make sense! How did this happen?! Why did he betray us?! Why would he kill her?! And doesn’t this mean that I failed to protect her?! Why?! How?! Is she really dead?! Then-
I suddenly opened my eyes, only to see an unfamiliar ceiling. My breathing was rough, and my body was sweating profusely. I touched my face, and felt something wet. I was crying.
Ah, I see. I was once again having that same nightmare, the one that I’ve been having every single night for 5000 years. But…… a ceiling? Where am I? And what am I doing here?
I got up from the bed I was sleeping on.
Wait, a bed? I’m a dragon, am I not? I looked at my claws to confirm, but what I saw were human arms. I took some more time to contemplate what was happening, and finally remembered everything. I was currently in the palace of the Kingdom. I had come here with Sam, the Hero who I had recently formed a contract with. He had rushed here after getting the news of this place being attacked by the demons, and he had used me as a mode of transport to get here.
Seriously, the nerve of that guy……
But that nightmare…….. I still cannot forget her even after so many years, huh. Just how long am I going to be pressed by that guilt? Just how long would I continue to spend such sleepless nights?
But, isn’t that one of the reasons why I decided to form a contract with Sam? Hadn’t I decided to form a contract again, and not repeat the mistakes of the past, and properly protect him, all in order to get rid of this guilt that binds my heart. But, would it really help? Would doing everything for him which I failed to do for her pacify me? I don’t even see him as a friend, or a comrade. For me, he is just someone through whom I plan to get rid of these chains that bind me.
Isn’t this kinda sad for him? He is just being used as a tool by me. But this doesn’t even compare to what he’s already feeling, does it? I don’t think that he even has the heart to mind being used as a tool.
Anyway, since I cannot sleep now, what should I do? This room that wretch had provided me is boring. There’s nothing to do here. What to do…..?
Ah! Let’s go check up on Sam. It’s the middle of the night, so he might be sleeping right now. But, observing him while sleeping might reveal something about his true character. Some people tend to talk while sleeping, don’t they? Maybe he does the same. Although I do not consider him my friend, I am still quite interested in him. I have been since the moment I met him. That interest intensified after listening to what Jack had to say. And maybe, just maybe, he can teach me how to live with these feelings I have bottled up inside me? I mean, he’s doing the same, isn’t he?
With that thought in mind, I left my room.