I haven’t eaten anything since noon, so I was thinking it’d be nice to eat some fresh green grass while watching the banquet bonfire. However, my stomach was supposedly full of sacrifice’s soul, so I was just sitting here not eating anything. Being idly illuminated by fire, I revisited today’s events.
—— I wonder, have I done something wrong?
No, even when I reflected on it, I didn’t think there was anything to blame me for. The main reason I’ve fallen into this state of affairs was this sacrificial girl acting abnormally crazy. I faced Rēko, who was sitting seiza-style on my back, and while maintaining as much dignity as possible, I said.
“Hey, Rēko. I’ll wage war on the Demon King alone, so you may stay at this village and protect it.”
“What are you speaking; kin are those who share the fate of their Lord. If Evil Dragon Lord intends to cross blades with the Demon King, I will carry my duty as one of your sharp nails.”
Why was her loyalty so uselessly high? I could flee if I could just abandon the village.
Nevertheless, despite her being so terrific, it seemed her body couldn’t keep up with the enormous amount of awakened magic power. Since a while ago, the weight balance on my back was crumbling and her head kept clumsily falling down, probably because of drowsiness.
“How about getting some sleep? You don’t have to force yourself to stay awake.”
“As your kin, I couldn’t sleep leaving lord unattended…”
“You’ve just become my kin, so there’s still a burden on your body. It’ll be a problem if you force it and ruin your physical condition. It’s an order, sleep.”
“Then, as you wish.”
Suddenly, the weight on my back collapsed with a flop sound. Sly means were necessary to make her listen, but it increasingly deepened her wrong assumptions, so it felt like I was falling into a vicious cycle.
At this time a man in his prime, who looked like a banquet manager, drew near us.
“Evil Dragon Lord, how are you feeling? From this point forward the village’s traditional dance will take place, I hope you could enjoy it.”
“Ah, yea, I will.”
“I feel honored! I made sure the performers dance with the preparedness for death as an appropriate ceremony for the beginning of Evil Dragon Lord’s war, so if it’s not to your liking please behead them at any time.”
“Ee… It’s okay, I’ve no such hobbies.”
“Wow! As expected, in comparison to the Demon King, Lord is full of compassion!”
“Being more merciful than the Demon King, couldn’t you give me a better compliment…? By the way, about this girl called Rēko.”
I lowered my back and showed her figure.
“I-Is there anything you are dissatisfied about?”
“It’s fine. It’s not like I’ve any complaints, really. Look, if I disappear there will be no one to protect this village, right? I was thinking of leaving this child here as insurance, so wouldn’t you guys also help persuade her? She doesn’t listen and says stubbornly that she wants to come with me.”
“I’m extremely grateful for your consideration! However, that girl has already been offered to you, Evil Dragon Lord. If she’s to be of assistance in subjugating the Demon King, by all means please take her with you. While we, men of this village, will protect it…”
I intently gazed at the man with my trained power of insight. I see, even though he was saying that, in his heart he was scared of Rēko. I guessed that, rather than receiving a monster attack, raising inside the village the same existence as the monsters was far more troublesome.
However, she was an ordinary human. Though there was no doubt she was scarier than some crappy monsters.
“In that case, there’s someone I’d like to speak with. Where’s your son?”
There was no need to use my power of insight here. The man in his prime and the rebellious young lad Raiotto had the same golden coloured hair, his clothes were similarly first-class. Just from these conjectures I could guess their parent-child relationship.
However, maybe because he made a wrong guess why I called for his son, his face quickly turned pale. He threw himself on his knees and hit the ground with his forehead.
“I-It is true my son had made a terribly discourteous blunder towards you, Evil Dragon Lord. But please, I beg you to at least let him live. In exchange, I’ll prepare as many other sacrifices as you’ll desire, that’s why…”
“It isn’t about anything disturbing like that. I just want to have a little chat with that child. From what I’ve seen, that child seems to be the closest to Rēko, so whether I take her with me or leave her here, it’d be better to understand her character more thoroughly, wouldn’t it? Oh, but it’s going to be bothersome if he rages, so let me meet him while he’s restrained with a rope.”
If he rushed at me again, this time I wouldn’t be able to hide my weakness. The lad’s father was clearly distressed, but in the end he shrugged his shoulders giving up.
“In that case, this way please. He’s locked up in a barn.”
“You didn’t have to worry about it that much.”
The place I was led to was a shabby looking stable entrance. He must’ve provoked considerable anger from the villagers to be stuffed into such a place despite his high social standing. Or they might be just trying to show me he was repenting.
“Oh, what’s happened Holy Dragon Lord? Priest, you’ve also came. Did you, after all, decide to sacrifice your son for the beginning of the war celebration?”
A person appeared from the stable’s shadows, as if lying in wait. Looking closely at his face while hiding my astonishment, it was the village chief I met earlier.
“T-That’s not it. Evil Dragon Lord said that he only wants to speak with him.”
“However, he made such a discourteous blunder. Surely you don’t expect he’ll get out unscathed. Holy Dragon Lord, that child is the heir to our village’s priest family. He has his rough sides, but his soul is polished with prayers. If you do get tired of the banquet, by all means please enjoy him as your dinner before the war.”
“It’s the priest’s duty to use their body as pillars when necessity arrives. Besides, how can a foolish child, who pointed his weapon at the Holy Dragon Lord, live? Wouldn’t being eaten and becoming Holy Dragon Lord’s flesh and blood fulfil his long-cherished desire?”
I was standing awkwardly between the two adults quietly arguing. I’ve had no intention to eat him even if they begged me.
When I cleared my throat, both the chief and priest became flustered and stopped their verbal fight.
“In any case, you two may retire. From here on, I want to speak only with Rēko and that lad.”
“Yes, as you wish.”
Showing feelings of mutual hatred, they left in separate directions.
“Hey, wake up Rēko. Inside the barn is that lad Raiotto, could you bring him outside for me? My frame is too big to enter.”
Although she was sleeping a second ago, she jumped with a quick movement and landed lightly. The way she was abnormally lively following orders was scary.
When Rēko standing before the door slowly stretched her hand out, despite her not touching it, the latch started coming loose making a creaky “gii—” sound. “Don’t open it eerily like that, just normally is fine”, was what I thought from the bottom of my heart.
The moonlight flowing through the door revealed to me the lad’s figure, with his whole body wrapped in ropes.
“Raiotto, foolish human child. You’d better be grateful that you got off with just this light punishment for opposing the Evil Dragon Lord.”
“Hey, Rēko! What are you saying, open your eyes!”
I agree, please open your eyes right now. Somehow, I felt quite a lot of sympathy towards the lad.
Rēko easily picked up Raiotto over her shoulder, who was bound like a caterpillar, and carried him outside the barn. He was struggling, though before the superhuman strength of the maiden whose pupils were shining pale blue like a dragon’s, resistance was completely futile. She threw Raiotto rolling on the ground.
“You monster. You want to eat me?”
“Why is everyone saying that? I’m not much of a glutton. I only wanted to talk.”
“Talk? Hmph, I don’t have anything to talk about with someone like you.”
Rēko crouched and began forcefully pinching his cheeks.
“Ouch, ow-swtop it! It hwurts!”
“Disrespecting Evil Dragon Lord is unforgivable.”
“Y-You fwucker! How dare you make Rēko do swuch things!”
“You two get along so well.”
I intended to give an honest opinion, but Raiotto disgruntledly averted his face. In exchange, the one who answered was Rēko.
“No, we do not. Because this evil brat is the son of the priest’s family I am indebted to, it is true he is a being I have a certain debt of gratitude to. But personally, I do not remember receiving any good treatment from him.”
“Oh, did you do something horrible to her?”
“It’s no good to lie.”
She once again started pulling his cheeks.
“This evil brat was sinisterly scheming every day to expel me from the house. Me, who was blessed with the honourable duty of a sacrifice, he each and every time took me outside despite my surprise, and even went as far as unscrupulously stealing traveling expenses from the house, while making me take the money and saying such cold words as “Don’t you ever come back”. No matter how many times I returned home, without learning his lesson he again led me to far away towns…”
“Lad, it seems you also had it quite hard.”
“Don’t make me remember it again!” Raiotto was on the verge of tears.
They were about the same age. Since both of them were just about ten years old and living close to each other, obviously compassion would well up.
“Besides originally, I was supposed to become a sacrifice. The one who changed that is my old man. Because I’m his dear son, he brought Rēko here from another place. It’s laughable, isn’t it? The reason I’ve been living a good life as a priest, was to one day risk my life for the cause. But at the critical moment a substitute was found and I escaped my fate, what the hell.”
“It’s a shame you didn’t come. If you did, it wouldn’t have become this complicated.”
“Haa? I don’t have a clue what you’re saying, you monster.”
If it was this lad, because he knows how much of an eccentric Rēko was, he might believe me.
“Very well, I’ll count on your motives being pure and tell you everything. To tell you the truth, I’m not an evil dragon—”
“Stop making annoying excuses!”
With a swish, before Raiotto’s eyes the jewelled dagger was stabbed into the ground.
“Don’t interrupt Evil Dragon Lord when he’s speaking. Be quiet and listen.”
If it was possible I’d also like for you to stay quiet, however, I was too scared to say that. Nonetheless, using the silence to the best of my abilities I fluently conveyed today’s happenings to Raiotto…
“As if I’m gonna believe you. That is, as if humans just with their wrong assumptions would be able to use that super magic. Aha, you want us to let down our guard and then eat all of us? Or did you get scared of going against the Demon King and you want to insist Rēko did all of that on her own?”
The story of the absurd interaction in the cave might yield an “It might have happened” opinion, but the scene of repelling the Kuragari wolves certainly became an obstruction. After seeing it in such close proximity, saying “She awakened her powers just on the basis of her wrong assumptions” wouldn’t work.
Even I was still half in doubt.
“How is it, Rēko? This guy, he’s saying you became able to use magic because of your wrong assumptions.”
“Raiotto, foolish child. You don’t understand anything.”
Even though she should’ve been listening all along about the misunderstanding, somehow the one who had the know-it-all look was Rēko.
“What Evil Dragon Lord is trying to convey is that today, what I’ve become able to use is merely a piece of His power. That is why, a mere human with his wrong assumptions is able to display only an act of a clumsy child’s play – in order to be worthy of being called kin, further devotion is required. I am thankful for the guidance. I will etch it deeply in this heart of mine.”
“You’re the one who doesn’t understand the most…”
I wanted to cry for the first time in a few hundred years. No matter what words I used till exhaustion, she just distorted it time after time and took it in a positive way. Strictly saying, I’ve had no clue if it was positive or not.
“Since it has come to this, let us hurry Evil Dragon Lord. There is no more use staying in such a remote village. Even though I am lacking, let me assist you in the grand journey to defeat the Demon King and let the world rest in your hands.”
“Can’t we take it a little easy? Today I’m already tired.”
“Such jest, please look out the window. Is it not the full moon tonight?”
“Evil Dragon Lord’s magic power becomes the greatest on full moon nights. That you would be tired on such a special night— I am terribly grateful for the concern for me, the one who has just finished her first battle.”
“I had no idea that I get stronger on the full moon though.”
The setting of things I didn’t know about is steadily increasing. Even though I’ve only felt I was able to walk a bit more easily at a full moon night.
When I was confused, Rēko climbed on my back with an innocent look. She faced the laying on the ground Raiotto and said:
“Raiotto, I want you to convey my gratitude to everyone at the village and home. I was happy to receive this duty. After this, together with Evil Dragon Lord we will conquer the world and make it so everyone can live safely. From now on this is my wish, and the Evil Dragon Lord’s ambition.”
“Hey, wait! Fuck! Untie the rope!”
“Let us go, Evil Dragon Lord. Let the curtain of night become your wings and the ruler’s wind blow —『Shadow Wings』”
When Rēko held her dagger over the moon, darkness of the night condensed densely, as if it could be touched, and in the next instant turned into imposing jet black wings growing from my back.
“Allow my small power to be of assistance in the great Evil Dragon Lord’s flight.”
Along with these few words my body floated softly — I flew for the first time in my life. Immediately after I faced the moon and could rise as far as I wanted.
I thought I was going to wet myself.