“I…….. I’m a failure of a father.” (Reishu)
What? A failure of a father? What made him say that?
“Why would you say that? A child is bound to have some idiosyncrasies, no? Why would you blame yourself for that?” (Reishu)
“Perhaps you are right. But her behaviour just now. You can’t dismiss it as a mere idiosyncrasy, can you?” (Reishu)
“Well…….. I won’t deny that.” (Sam)
Her behaviour was too extreme. Her reaction earlier showed me that she actually believed that Reishu should be the Hero and not me. Her eyes were those of a fanatic, not a daughter.
“It’s my fault that she turned out like this.” (Reishu)
What? Are we delving into flashbacks now? Can someone at least get me some popcorn?
“Simone’s mother was a human whom I met 30 years ago. She gave birth to Simone 25 years ago, and passed away. Since I was too heartbroken by her mother’s death, and was also very busy with the matters of the state, the time I spent with my daughter was very little. She was raised by the maids of this castle. From the time she could comprehend her surroundings, she’d always found it strange that I spent very little time with her. She used to cry everyday just to meet me. To stop her crying, the head maid told her a story. It was the story of how I killed the Commandment a thousand years ago. Captivated by it, she asked the maid to tell her more stories about me. The head maid told her many heroic tales, all of which belonged to me. In all those stories, I was fighting against the evil, and I always won. That’s why and idea took root in her mind: my father is justice.” (Reishu)
“My condolences.” (Sam)
What else am I supposed to say anyway? Look, even Shiggurath is not speaking anything. But wait a minute, then why did Liera ask about Simone’s sister?
“I kind of like how cold you are. Anyway, as you might know, I am not justice. I have also committed many evils in my life. My path to this throne is strewn about by dead bodies. But Simone, who’s still immature and hasn’t witnessed a real war, is incapable of thinking that. That’s why she thought that the Goddess Phiria made a mistake while choosing the Hero. She thinks that someone like me, who is invincible and the bearer of justice, should have been chosen as the Hero. I want to correct her way of thinking. That’s also the reason why I wanted to have a duel with you.” (Reishu)
“What has that got to do with correcting your daughter?” (Sam)
“I wanted to show her that I’m not invincible.” (Reishu)
“How can you be so sure that I would be able to defeat you?” (Sam)
“That’s because I’ve been informed beforehand that you, forgive me for saying this, are a monster. That’s why I was confident that you would have wiped the floor with me, which in turn would have broken Simone’s delusions.” (Reishu)
Who the fuck is this informer? Is it Liera?
“Putting aside whether that’s rude or not, I’m clearly not a monster. I’m just your friendly neighbourhood Hero.” (Sam)
“Says the guy who was recognised by the Ancient Dragon Shiggurath herself.” (Reishu)
Hooohh, so he knew about her true identity.
“Since where were you aware?” (Sam)
“From the beginning I saw her. That visage, that presence, that authority in her eyes, voice, her way of carrying herself. Everything resembles the Shiggurath I know.” (Reishu)
“The Shiggurath you know? Are you perhaps acquaintances?” (Sam)
“Yes. For the past 1000 years this guy had been pestering me for a duel. No matter where I went, he always followed me and asked for a battle to death.” (Shiggurath)
She informed me with a sigh. Wow. Isn’t that the textbook definition of a stalker?
“Alas, she never agreed.” (Reishu)
The moment he said that, a scene popped up in my head where Reishu would arrive in front of Shiggurath and yell ‘I’ve come to fight you, Ancient Dragon Shiggurath!’ and she would sigh and reply with ‘Ugghh, it’s you again. Just leave me alone! I don’t wanna fight!’.
To that, Reishu would reply with ‘Please don’t do this to me man, this has been my dream since childhood……..’ while Shiggurath with retort with a ‘Ugh, just fuck off!’ and fly away somewhere else.
I had the urge to laugh out loud, but decided against it.
“Well, that makes sense. However, are you sure that facing defeat through my hands would have worked?” (Sam)
“What do you mean?” (Reishu)
He asked with a confused tone. Looks like he never had the opportunity to have a blind fanatic as a follower.
“You’re underestimating her madness. She isn’t a zealot for nothing. Do you really think that she would accept your defeat so easily, especially when it threatens to break the very foundation of the world she lives in? No. She would most likely think up of a convenient excuse for your defeat. For example, she would think you held back while fighting, or that I cheated in some way or the other. But she won’t accept that you lost to me.” (Sam)
Yes. Fanatics who hold extreme admiration for you are the worst kind of people to have around.
“Ah, I see. I never thought about it in that way. I guess you’re right.” (Reishu)
Seems like he understood.
“How about you just tell her every evil deed you’ve committed, along with proofs?” (Shiggurath)
Shiggurath spoke again, but the suggestion she gave was the most extreme one.
“You’re still angry with her, aren’t you? We want to cure her of her devotion without turning her into a vegetable. You can’t just abruptly destroy everything that she has believed in. Her mind would be completely destroyed if you do that.” (Sam)
She clicked her tongue. So she’s still angry at her, huh. Good grief.
“What else should I do then?” (Reishu)
Reishu asked with a voice full of hope. He probably thought that I would know the answer to this puzzle. Unfortunately for him, I don’t.
“I don’t know about that. Whatever you do, just don’t involve me in it, and don’t psychologically destroy her.” (Sam)
He silently stared at me for a while, but soon gave up.
“I understand. I’ll see what I can do.” (Reishu)
He walked away and opened the door. However, just as he was about to exit, he spoke without turning his head.
What does he want now?
“That talk earlier, about how Simone’s attempt to kill you doesn’t mean you’ll kill her right away since there are things you can do before that.” (Reishu)
“What about that?” (Sam)
“Can I take that as a declaration that you’ll kill her if those things don’t work?” (Reishu)
Heh. He isn’t a king for nothing, is he?
“That goes without saying.” (Sam)
“I see.” (Reishu)
He left the room with that.
“Well Shiggurath, may I ask what are you doing in my room?” (Sam)
I don’t remember asking her to stay with me. In fact, I was alone when I had lied down on my bed.
She started fidgeting nervously.
Don’t tell me it’s that.
“Can’t sleep again?” (Sam)
“Aren’t you acting too spoiled for a dragon?” (Sam)
“I guess it cannot be helped. Come here.” (Sam)
I said as I sat down on the corner of the sofa. Shiggurath followed by lying down on it with her head on my lap. I started stroking her hair gently, and soon she was sound asleep.
This has been happening since the day I broke her. Shiggurath enters my room saying she can’t sleep, and acts like a spoiled child like this. She says that this is the only way she can sleep for now.
Damn. I kinda regret doing things that way. Only if I’d known things would have turned out like this.
I looked at her face again. I could see the calmness on it, lit up by the moonlight. How can she be so defenceless right now? It’s like she’s inviting me to attack her.
Yeah, as if. I’m sure she would rip me apart if I even thought of doing something like that.
Well, I’ll let her enjoy these nights for a little longer. We’ll be parting soon enough after all.
how cute can a ancient dragon be?