As a matter of course, with my speed we didn’t reach any town and it became a camping night in the middle of the grasslands. Dry wood was burning, creating sparks with crackling sounds.
“Well then, let’s have dinner. Rēko, just pick anything you want from our luggage.”
For me, it was a treasure trove of food as far as the eye could see. In comparison to the mountain vegetation, there were a lot of young ones lacking substance, but instead they were fresh and juicy. Rēko on the other hand, choose and was eating biscuits and dried meat. Both had water extracted from them and should be considerably hard, but she didn’t look to mind it at all. It seemed even her jaw strength was better than mine.
After she quickly finished her meal, she turned her gaze towards the night sky.
“Please look up Evil Dragon Lord.”
“Hm? What’s up?”
“The star of evil omen is emerging. Evil, namely the governing darkness Evil Dragon Lord’s will itself. It’s proof that, even heaven is trying to avoid obstructing the Evil Dragon Lord’s road to supremacy.”
I listened nodding my head.
“This time I won’t even touch upon what you said, but do you like stargazing? Speaking of which, when we were leaving the village you also mentioned something about the full moon.”
Stargazing was a young maiden like hobby so it was fine, but I’d prefer if she stopped mixing it with those unreasonable interpretations.
“No, it’s not really that I like it. I was simply often living in places where the stars could be seen, so when the night comes I can’t help but look at them. I know that keeping my human habits is something that mustn’t be done as your kin, however—―”
“Nah, I don’t mind. At any rate, there isn’t anything else to do at these plains. You can look as much as you want.”
Here Rēko’s face lit up, seemingly noticing something.
“—― I understand. That is right; full moon is the Evil Dragon Lord’s source of first-rate magic power, an offering from the night. Then I, as your kin, will feast upon moonlike shards, the star’s light.”
I nodded coolly. Somehow I’ve felt that this time around I’ve seen a part of her own intentions, without the usual sense of danger. On the contrary, it was a bit pleasant.
“Since we’re probably going to be together for quite a while, I’ve got an idea. How about telling each other about ourselves while stargazing? There was a lot going on and now that I think about it, we couldn’t even introduce ourselves properly, right?”
“What are you speaking of, Evil Dragon Lord. The likes of my short existence, you must have comprehended everything when you’ve eaten my soul.”
Oh, is that right. Apparently, when you eat a person’s soul you can grasp their past. Let’s watch out from now on. Or rather, I’d like to write down on paper the setting that’s inside her brain. Then I could match it accordingly.
“Ah… It’s not like that. It’s a matter of feelings. Just simply knowing it, or hearing it directly from the person through their words. The weight is different.”
“Weight…? I don’t quite understand.”
“It means that, because I’ll hear it from you directly it’ll actually deepen my understanding.”
I thought it was a painful excuse, but Rēko stared respectfully for a brief period, after which she nodded while slanting her head.
“Very well, I’m feeling extremely ashamed to trouble you with a story of someone like myself, but I’ll accept your kindness and narrate this lowly person’s life.”
“Ah, wait a minute.”
I stopped her before she started speaking.
“You were a slave before, weren’t you?”
“Yes. And as my good fortune, I was bought as a sacrifice.”
‘Good fortune, eh?’ I thought in my head without saying it out loud.
“If talking about those times is painful for you and you don’t want to, you don’t have to push it, okay? You can just speak about the time after you were bought as a sacrifice.”
After coming to the village, she shouldn’t have been treated that badly. Since they were going to sacrifice her to the evil dragon, they couldn’t have let her become ill and neither could they’ve let her lose too much weight. Also, Raiotto was there. It seemed he was watching over her in one way or another, and he was sure to object if anyone were to mistreat her.
“I am thankful for your consideration, but it’s not necessary. I don’t particularly have any memories of being mistreated as a slave.”
Normally, right about now I should feel relieved, but in Rēko’s case I wasn’t sure. Even if she was suffering, she seemed like she might accept it as something ordinary.
“Yes. Although I’ve never met them, from what I heard, it seems my parents were quite powerful, for humans that is. Maybe because of that bloodline, I was treated as high-class goods, so I didn’t undergo any experiences which would lower my value.”
‘That’s why I could see the stars’, she mentioned.
“In the prison chamber, only I had a window. I can clearly remember the moonlight, and how beautiful it was. Thinking about it now, that charming and refined radiance was, just like a mirror, reflecting Evil Dragon Lord’s intent. Ah… I’m thankful. Since that time, Evil Dragon Lord was already watching over me.”
That was quite a huge misunderstanding. The me of that time was probably spending his days only eating grass and sleeping.
“So, have your parents passed away?”
“I don’t know. Even if they were strong, strength doesn’t necessarily have to go with humanity, so selling their own child as means of raising money is also a possibility.”
Either way, she just might be better off without such parents. Assuming they were powerful, if they wanted they could’ve kept her safe.
“After I was bought I was able to live a better life. When I think about it now, religious service is a foolish custom, but being taught reading and writing by reading holy scriptures as education was interesting. If I had to complain about something, it’d be that annoying brat, Rai——”
“Erm yea, I think I know about who you want to speak about, so don’t complain too much please. Somehow, I can’t think of him as a stranger.”
But as a fellow victim of Rēko. I wonder what he’s doing right now. Villagers may still be severely angry at him, because of that matter with the stone. I think I should’ve defended him a little more.
“Be that as it may, even though it was only 10 years, I believe I’ve been allowed to walk a life of good fortune. Since at the end, I was blessed with the honour of becoming the Evil Dragon Lord’s kin.”
“Stop with these remarks like ‘only 10 years’ or ‘at the end’, it’s as if you were looking back on your life while dying. You’re still living, aren’t you? Did you somehow forget?”
“Yes, I’m living on as a dragon’s kin, not a human.”
“I think it’s the same though…”
In essence it was exactly the same. Since being kin or what not was just her wrong assumption.
“Well, so it’s my turn now, isn’t it? Right, when should I start…”
I noticed when I said it. Carefully thinking it over, since I had to behave like an evil dragon, it wasn’t like I could speak frankly about my life. If I was to summarise it with “I was pretty much only eating grass and sleeping for 5000 years” and speak about my pitiful life in one sentence, I feared that Rēko might lose the point for her magic power reliance and go out of control, turning into a new evil dragon. Incidentally, if that were to happen, naturally I’d die.
“Eee—— Thinking about it now, if I was to narrate my lifetime, there wouldn’t be enough time even if this night could last for eternity.”
Ultimately I went with the smokescreen strategy. Since I also wasn’t good at lying, there was nothing else than that.
However Rēko, who I thought would be disappointed in me stalling, surprisingly showed a gentle smile. She softly drew her hand to her chest and said.
“That’s okay, Evil Dragon Lord. I already receive your words directly to this heart of mine. All of those great feats spanning over that long lifetime carved scrupulously. As proof of that I can recall them clearly, as if I’ve seen them myself. That time of huge upheaval of heaven and earth, the Evil Dragon Lord’s figure standing atop countless corpses, dyed crimson red with spurting blood, roaring—―”
I was just listening, with a deadpan face, to the crackling sounds of bonfire.
I could safely declare. I had no such past.