Dragon Life - Chapter 54
The Demon King, attacking. The Demon King, displaying his imperial wrath. The Demon King, running away.
Demon King? The King of Magic? The King of the Demon Beasts? The King of the Devils? The King of Demons?[^1] Is that it?
First of all, when hearing the word ’’Demon’’ I don't get a very good image. Dark, eerie, fiendish, unfathomable;such are the images I get. In addition, if we are talking of the Demons' big-shot, their 'King,' then we must be talking about an evil king. Then, if you speak of the 'Demon King', then: ’’Wahahah, good work coming this far, oh Hero! Come on, let's exchange blows, try to stop me if you can! Wahahahah!’’ After which he'll be thoroughly bashed by the Hero's party, because he's a villain character after all. He could even be said to be the tale's unsung hero, right? 'Demon King' istruly a royally straightforward title, according to what I can remember.[^2]
You're telling me that this man, is that Demon King?
’’To be precise, I'm the rational side that exists in order to restrain the main essence of the Demon King.[^3] As you fear, the main esence should wake up soon. Alvina and Tiruzoto, Walter and Caspe De, hmm. I was thinking that you began moving at long last, but now you went and did something uncalled for. Anyway you're slow, it is already too late for you to make your move.’’
’’What are you saying we're late for?’’
’’For the resurrection of the Demons.’’
He responded to the Captain's question in a heartbeat. If what this man said was true, then what His Majesty Hector said was true as well? It's almost too much when two different people talk of the same nonsense of the ’’Demons' revival’’. Then, it could be said that it was true. My head was hurting.
’’I too, will awaken as the Demon King as per my instinct. So Anna was necessary to shave off that power even a little, but you say you ate her? That's too absurd!! Just a little more and I'd have been able to persuade Anna... But you just...!! I'll make you take responsibility for that with your body!’’
The energy full of bloodlust emanating from the man caused my body to jump. Even though he looks like a regular human on the outside, I felt something dreadful hidden within him, and my instincts as both a living being and as Dragon were alarmed. Besides, we didn't know the man's intentions. Isn't the Demon King supposed to exist for the sake of destroying the world? But what the man said just now is that he'll make me take responsibility by having me take Anna's place in stopping the main essence of the Demon King.
’’You can't do that.’’
The power in the arm that embraced me grew stronger. Perhaps he noticed that I was frightened, because he covered my head with my hood and made it so that I was out of the man's line of sight as much as possible.
’’It's your Dragon's fault, since it ate Anna, isn't it? The owner holds responsibility too, watch over your pet's discipline properly.’’
Ignoring the thing about discipline and all that, it can be said that my human self came to be by having eaten Anna... In other words, me eating Anna may be the cause of me having obtained those disordered memories.
Argh, I don't get it anymore.
’’I don't get what you are thinking about, but that idea sounds too arrogant.’’ (Captain)
’’Too arrogant? What is? I'm talking about saving the world, you know? I'm its savior, so to speak;so rather, you should be thanking me for letting you be part of this.’’
’’You are thoroughly mistaken.’’
His narrowed black eyes are frighteningly cold. They're the eyes from that time, on the battlefield. If that gaze was aimed at me I'd probably be unable to stand it.
’’The world doesn't want to be saved.’’
The Captain said plainly.
'Just what are you spouting,' the man's eyes were saying. I was puzzled too. I wonder how could he tell such a thing. Was it just a bluff? But no, he stated it in a really clear manner.
Recently I'm always wondering, about what kind of person he is.
’’You... No way...?’’
Suddenly the man's expression changed. Even though his mouth had been full of hateful words, his eyes went wide as they focused on the Captain. His face was terribly surprised.
'No way'? 'No way' what?
’’Yes, that's why you are a complete idiot.’’
A young voice with a grown-up's pronunciation. A small girl's back appeared before my eyes at some point. I remember that long amethyst-colored hair. Sighing heavily, she came out and stood in front of the man while protecting us. I catched a fleeting glance of her profile, and sure enough, it was her.
’’Timo, why are you here?’’
Timo looked back and smiled gently at hearing my question, with those eyes that are the same amethyst color as her hair.
’’Long time no see Vito, Lutoria. And, Maji.’’[^4]
The gaze that she threw at the man was cold, a total change from the smiling one she had sent our way just before.
’’Timotea Norris... What have you come here for.’’
The man called Maji made a dubious face as he glared at Timo. She was doing the same, and so a sense of tension I hadn't felt to this day dominated the surroundings. I didn't know what had happened between these two people, but they had to be more than simple acquaitances by the atmosphere that spoke of deep-rooted differences.
’’That's my line. I had thought you wouldn't show up for some decades, but it seems you are thinking of doing something stupid. Is it that your head can't help but think of idiotic stuff?’’
’’Shut up, it has nothing to do with you!’’
’’No, it has to do with me, that's why I expressely came all the way to this country to search for you;in order to scold you!’’
'And just who do you think you are...!' The man spat out.
’’You truly are stupid. You wanted too much power, so you were reduced to such a state, even when I stopped you.’’
’’As if you understood! If only I had enough power! That power... That's why your butting in ruined it all!’’
’’...Nothing will change even if you blame others like that.’’
- The witch looked at the Demon King with a pitying expression.
’’I really hate that face of yours, speaking with a condescending attitude while pretending you know everything;the one who hasn't changed is you!’’
’’Oh well, we both haven't changed. ...But you, who are that rational side, still remain like this. So that's why you were desperately trying to stop it these last few decades, right? Looking for a person with enormous magical power, you intended to sacrifice them and use them to prevent it, didn't you? ’’
’’That's correct, do you have any complaints?’’
’’It is a good thing to try to clean up the seeds sowed by oneself. ...But, 'a sacrifice'? And it wasn't just her, using her as a medium you were going to sacrifice all of this country's citizens, weren't you. I happened to see a magic square all over the city.’’
’’Isn't it fine?! We can stop it with that! Just by sacrificing some thousands of humans ’’
’’That's why I'm calling you a fool!’’
The girl's shouting voice was powerful. Her voice reverberated within the hall and caused the surroundings to become deadly quiet. That's some authoritative voice for certain.
’’You're just sacrificing unrelated people in that way, why don't you please think of a way to stop it using your own body already?! Or is your body so precious?! Your intentions are correct, but your means are the lowest!’’
Because the emotions that Timo and the man seemed quite real, the surrounding spectators seemed to think this was a continuation of the play and stopped to watch, so at some point a circle was formed around us. I wonder what would come to happen if it was known now, when were were standing out so much, that we are people from Alvina, moreover, the Holy Beast and its contractor. Even though this is a neutral country visited by people of various races and countries, it would probably cause a commotion. It was already bad enough because of Whitey the Sable-toothed Tiger rampaging about. It won't do to create any more uproars.
Ah, if it was going to come to this I should't have come to see the play.
Even if I regretted it, it was already too late.
...Since this was all so ridiculous I was overcome with laughter. I laughed at this whole mess, and at the matter with this man.
’’Wh-, what's so funny.’’ (Maji)
He seemed a little perplexed at to why I, who had been reduced to be a bystander, had suddenly started laughing.
’’Because I have no choice but to laugh, because you and I are really very similar to each other, aren't we?’’
If what Timo said was true, if this man is the great Demon King, and if what he said wass true as well, then all that's left is to laugh.
Besides, this was already a commotion. There's no choice but to make this all into a side show to the Hero's Legend play. Watch my true acting skills carefully! Not that I have any level of skill to say that, but if we go with this flow we may be able to deceive them. I won't talk to him with any respect.[^5]
’’We both act while thinking only about ourselves, no matter what consequences it may bring to unrelated people. However, I know somewhere in my mind that things shouldn't be done that way. I often get lost by those discording thoughts... But witnessing it from the side now, it's hilarious.’’
Besides, if I'm going to trouble even more people in the future because of Anna's image, then I'll change it. Although I feel a little lonely to divorce from the appearance of the human being who has accompanied me for many years, my original figure is that of a Dragon.[^6]
If I'm going to change it, from the people I've eaten, anyone is fine. If it can't be Anna's form, then anyone's will do. ...That's right, let's go with the appearance of the young man of the subjugation party, who was the most tasty after Anna.
I closed my eyelids and carefully recalled the appearance of the young man. There were also parts that were hidden behind his robes and could not be remembered, but the information I have is enough to change my appearance. When I made my resolve and focused, I felt my body become hot and I knew my form was changing. But it wasn't to that of the young man's It was only for a moment, the me that appeared covered in light, that was - the ’’me’’ I had been yearning for.
’’Y-, you...’’ (Maji)
Black hair floated into my sight. A white hand that didn't know of the burn of the sun. A slightly shorter height. My face was hidden by the hood so most likely it was only visible to the Demon King and to Timo. I didn't actually know what I looked like. But, surely, I could be sure that this was myself.
'But we're together in that,' I said with a laugh.
’’ 'That means, that your real nature is that of an idiot.' ’’
That's right, that was my real voice.
And then, that appearance fluctuated and disappeared like a heat haze.
What appeared in its place was a youth with golden hair that reminded people of the sun and with eyes of the same color;from his neat features, he seemed to have a serious nature, but he still gave off a listless aura in some respects.
At that time, he was the young man who made a rain squall descend to extinguish the fire I blew.[^7] I remember him well. At first he was screaming, retreating until he fell on his back, but just like Anna, he laughed for only a moment when I opened my large mouth to bite him. ’’Oh, it is finally over.’’ It was such a face. Even though most of the humans I've eaten so far have become so scared at seeing my Dragon form that their faces have cramped up in fear, and they showed some unbelievable expressions in their last moments. I don't think there are many people who are able to laugh when a Dragon is about to eat them, that's why he left me a strong impression and I could vividly remember his appearance.
’’Hey, comrade.’’ (Vito)
As I spoke to the Demon King who had the same thinking patterns as me, the sounds that came out of my throat were of a languid tone of voice, as expected. It is somewhat different from Anna's which could pronounce clearly, but I may actually like it. The hair that swayed in my line of sight was gold, and when I glanced at my hand it had thin fingers that clearly belonged to a man's body structure. I also seemed to have become a little taller;when I looked backwards at the Captain who was behind me, our gazes are close. Since he was surprised that my appearance changed, he promptly released my arm. Two men clinging to each other would look weird, after all.
I took off my hood and went to stand in front of the self-proclaimed Demon King. Perhaps it was because of my sudden transformation, but his vigorous drive from before had diminished. I could work with that.
’’Well then I have some questions. Who am I? A guy? Or a girl? A human? Or a Dragon?’’[^8]
With this face, an ironic expression can be done with ease. I ended up wondering, perhaps this person had a bad personality? Besides, it's strange to use women's mannerisms because this is a man's form. Like this I could understand Maribelle's, or Marius' feelings.
’’Aren't you an Earth Dragon?!’’
’’Correct. I'm undoubtedly a man eating Dragon, but honestly I almost can't understand my own nature too much, so when others decide it for me I feel like resisting it a bit. I don't know what you were intending on doing by sacrificing Anna, but this body doesn't the same value as her.’’
'So won't you please give up?' I added with a bitter smile, but the Demon King didn't take a step back.
’’There's no such thing... A legendary existence is a miracle by itself!’’
’’Still, wouldn't some other Sacred Beast be fine, then?’’
’’The Earth Dragon is special even amongst the Sacred Beasts! Your worth simple cannot be compa-!’’
’’I'll decide my own worth by myself.’’
I cut the Demon King's words, and let out a sigh.
I don't want others to decide the possibilities available to me. This person is like His Majesty, talking about 'worth' and 'existences.'
’’My worth is, at most, that of a rare animal of an endangered species. You should think of something without having to rely on said rare animal. You have a head capable of thinking of that, right?’’
’’You're saying that now that you've eaten Anna! I have decided on what to do long ago!’’
Did he mean, sacrificing someone to stop the Demon King's true essence?
’’Hahahaha! She was certainly delicious, she had the second best taste in the world.... Oh right, what kinda taste would you have, so-called Demon King?’’
I may have put too much fighting spirit into my performance. I feel like Timo was drawing back slightly. But I can't draw back here! If I do I'll be losing out as a man! ...I'm a woman though.
What I am saying is pure nonsense, but as I expected, the audience around us seems to be smoothly accepting it as a side show that echoes the previous play. However, how to end this from here is a problem.
’’I don't have a liking to eating Demons, but I should just try it out, don't you think?’’
I laughed with a broad nihilistic smile, and this did make the Demon King take a step back. Maybe my pupils returned to a reptilian's shape again. And now how I can finish things by following this flow! Think, Vito!
’’Hey Maji~! What're you doing?’’
Suddenly the owner of a high-pitched, coaxing voice appeared by pushing her way through the audience. It was the woman with a high level of exposure who was with the Demon King before.
Possibly the woman instantly realized the situation as she was watching us with a wary expression, but her brown eyes were moving about jovially as if to say that she found this very interesting.
’’Hmm~, I see... Well I guess I should introduce myself for now. I'm Kikuko, Saitou Kikuko.’’[^8]
When I said that, she instantly blinked her long eyelashes and sent me an extraordinary smile.
’’Wo~w I'm impressed! You can pronounce atashi's name correctly! And you're a quite good looking guy too! How about it? Wanna come play with me~?’’[^10]
No I'm not a man. And I won't go play with you. I can pronounce it because I'm a former Japanese person. ...Hm? This woman, maybe.
’’Kikuko! What are you saying?!’’
’’I'm just joking! Don't get jealous since I'm devoted just to you, you know~?’’
He got angry and yelled, 'That's not it!', but his cheeks were red. He's certainly smitten, this guy. Yup yup, it's good to be young, but wait, since he was talking equally with Timo, does that mean that he's older than he looks?
’’But unfortunately, Maji's enemy is also my enemy~, and I would never let you eat Maji...!’’
Miss Kikuko gave a bewitching smile, and taking out a dagger from her voluptuous breasts she aimed it at me and thrust forwards.
Whwhwhwhere was she hiding such a dangerous thing! The adolescent boys are all red you know! Incidentally the Demon King is red too! And it's guaranteed that I am too! Aah how outrageous!
’’Vito, fall back.’’
As expected, the calm Captain took my arm and made me fall back as he drew out the sword he carried at the waist.
’’Oh, wanna fight? I won't go easy on you, you know? Also, I'll feel hurt if you look down on my skill which was tempered in the kendo club, you know? Because I even won the championship in a national competition! ...Though my words can't be understood in this world, can they?’’
She said kendo club? This has been on my mind for a while, but could this woman be Japanese...?
Summoning magic has become obsolete, or rather, I heard from the Prince that because the small old book which was necessary to do the summonings became lost, it became impossible to do summonings any further. That's why people can no longer be summoned from other worlds. If so, exactly what is this person?
’’Maji, did you, maybe, this person...’’
Perhaps Timo noticed something about her, because her amethyst eyes were wide open.
’’...It was a mistake.’’
A mistake in what. Before the Demon King could say it Miss Kikuko attacked with the dagger in her hands, but the Captain stopped the blow. When she approached at close range, she murmured at a volume that the people around us wouldn't hear.
’’Just for a bit, please follow along my dialogue. If after all this commotion it was known that this is not an act, you'll be in trouble, won't you?
And then she glanced at me who was behind the Captain, and laughed in amusement.
’’Weren't you having fun up until the middle? Let's continue with that dialogue. We'll become the bad guys, so please follow up.’’
I don't know how much of what she said was an act and how much of it was a real, but the surrounding expectators are already in the hundreds. Because of the commotion at the center of the entrance hall, the audience who was watching down from the second floor were also holding their breaths.
Given the situation, we have no choice but to go along with her, so the Captain and I exchanged looks and nodded. We'd be in trouble if Mr. Maurice heard of this. And we even ended up talking about Sacred Beasts.
’’Behold the acting talent of a kendo-club-cum-theater-club member.’’
With that as a signal the Captain repeled her with his sword, and Miss Kikuko fell to her knees with a pained expression.
’’You, you're good! As expected of thee, old enemy of mineth, who art a descendant of yond Hero! So by thy side is the same Dragon! Blood will tell, it seemeth!’’
That's an awesome setting right there.
’’Go, Demon Lord, may thee finish them off!’’
It seemed that the Demon King couldn't keep up with the story on his own, his eyes were shifting here and there, but as his back was being pushed he came out in front of the Captain. Miss Kikuko told him in a low voice, ’’Continue the dialogue!’’ so even while behaving suspiciously he shouted.
’’G-, get ready!?’’
The Captain looked back at me because he didn't know what to say. Oops. It's impossible for the Captain to ad lib! 'Please repeat my words as it is,' I told him in the spur of the moment as I pretended to fall over and clung to his back.
’’ 'It is you who must get ready. I'll take you on!' ’’
What a ham actor. Reading in a monotone also has its good sides. But it's okay.
And yet, the Demon King ended up losing easily. Perhaps this was not an act, and he was actually bad at fighting. That was no way to handle a sword, he just swung it about. Looking at the situation, Timo had a distant look as she said, ’’...He won't change.’’
Miss Kikuko ran up to the Demon King who had fallen on his back and put on a frustrated expression.
’’Hohoho, it seems that now is not the time~...! All right! We will let you off here today!’’
Then the time will be when?
’’The fool should just run off already! You stupid!’’
As Timo just had to get cocky at the critical moment and declared so, the Demon King's face went red and he yelled.
’’You, you've been calling me stupid, stupid for a while now, what's wrong with you! I'm not stupid!’’
’’What's wrong with calling a fool stupid! Stupid Maji!’’
’’...Damn it, I'll remember this!’’
’’Don't you forge t i t!’’
They exited from the stage which was the entrance hall while spitting out a promise. In contrast with Miss Kikuko who seemed to be having fun, the Demon King appeared to be somewhat teary eyed. I wonder, even though he's the Demon King, could it be he's a weakling?
I was watching their retreating backs as they pushed through the audience and were promptly running away. But really, although Miss Kikuko has a gaudy appearance she may actually be someone who's easier to talk to than I thought. Rather it was the Demon King the one it was hard to communicate with. We can't predict how he will act from now. Nor do we know if what he said is true. But the only thing I could think of was:
I'm really glad he isn't like a 'Demon King' at all.
Though I was scared at first. As I was sighing in my mind, cheering started around me. I stared around in surprise. Waves of clapping were arising, along with shouts of ’’It was a splendid show!’’and also, ’’He was so good looking!’’ and ’’Was there such an actor?!’’ and ’’That blond boy is really to my liking~!’’ ...Eh? Me? When Iturned to face in the direction of the voices, the females let out some shrill 'Kyaaa!' yells. When I gave them a cordial smile their shrill voices grew more intense.
Amazing. This is cool. I wonder if I should live as a man from now on. I can definitely win girls' hearts with this appearance. Like, first of all, Maribelle. No, that's right, Maribelle is a boy. Well then, Chiffon? The impregnable Ariade? Isn't this a harem!
As I was thinking about such things, the Captain grabbed a shoulder and peered into my face. So close.
’’...What are you thinking of?’’
I was planning of capturing girls, I wouldn't dare say it out loud even under threat. He had a displeased expression on his face, as if he knew what I had been thinking about.
It's okay, the Captain is a capture target too. Just please let him have a girl role. These thoughts are to be a secret as well.
’’As long as you're having fun, then that's fine.’’
’’There's no way I'd be having fun now, though?’’
No, I was having fun. My mouth was grinning. I wished I had changed my appearance sooner. A body that is not Anna's made me feel a slight discomfort, but it should be okay once I got used to it.
’’But I think I will stay in this form for a while, because having that girl's appearance while in this country seems like it will bring trouble.’’
'That's right,' the Captain nodded.
’’...You accepted it so readily.’’
As I was surprised that he accepted the flow of events so very easily, the Captain laughed airily like usual.
’’Vito, you are you no matter what form you take. That won't change.’’
Those word penetrated deep into my heart. Why will the Captain always say the words I want so simply?
That's why, - I like him.