Chapter 33 – The renegade

 

For five months, I kept on fighting.

 

I was aware however, that it was impossible for me to face the entire Orc army using only my sheer strength. I was almost overwhelmed in my first battle against them and I therefore had to rely on more strategic approaches to win against them.

 

I studied the geography of the Klug continent in more detail and made use of the landscape to set up magic traps that allowed me to defeat the Orcs more easily.

 

Although I was using these clever tactics, the Orcs started adapting as well. As the months passed, they came more and more prepared, scouted the area meticulously before sending their troops and stopped acting recklessly.

 

The other problem was that I could feel myself weakening constantly. It was a very slow and agonising decay of my health and I felt myself coughing more often as the days passed. If I had to say, I could probably only use 65% of my total Mana now.

 

“*Cough *cough*… Ha, ha, ha… Maybe helping the Dwarves wasn’t the best choice considering my priorities… But still… I have to go through the Klug continent to reach Dorua so I have no choice but to fight the Orcs…”

 

This was because the sea that separated Klug and Dorua was too large for me to fly over it. I needed a boat to cross it but the harbour that would allow me to do that was under the control of the Orcs.

 

At this point, I had freed twenty-four towns from the Orcs, three of them being strategically important points. I was now in the centre of Klug where there was nothing around me but a valley.

 

This was probably the best checkpoint in the entire continent. It was currently under the control of the Orcs, just like all the other cities that I had not yet reached, on the northern half of Klug – up until now I had come from the south. Whoever controlled his valley, called the “Sandstorm Desert”, could navigate freely between the two halves of the Klug continent.

 

It is therefore needless to say that it was the location with the highest number of Orcs, behind the Orc capital. Not something I could take on myself.

 

But despite the odds, I had no choice but to try to steal it back from the Orcs. The longer it was under their control, the longer they could keep sending reinforcements to the southern part of Klug.

 

The Sandstorm Desert was essentially a giant rift that split the continent in half. A bridge had been built for people to cross over but there was now an Orc fortress at the southern end of it.

 

I was observing the Orc fortress, planning my next course of action. From afar, I could see a group of Orcs patrolling around the walls of the fortress. Whoever wanted to reach the southern part of Klug had to go through it.

 

From the looks of it, the only way I could destroy the fortress would be to make the cliff it was on collapse or use a large scale spell to destroy it in one go. But the problem was that the Sandstorm Desert’s rocks were made out of a special mineral called Lunq.

 

Lunq was a stone that was commonly used for enchantments because it had the propriety to absorb Mana. The fact that the Sandstorm Desert was covered with Lunq made me totally unable to cast spells in this area – my Mana would just get absorbed into the ground and make the spell vanish before I could cast it.

 

In other words, I couldn’t even fly past the rift. And travelling around it would not solve the problem because it would just make it harder for me to retreat later on and that would also mean I would be definitely surrounded by the Orcs if I were to proceed further into the Klug continent.

 

I was at a loss over what to do. That’s when I heard it. A growl that came from the deepest part of the rift.

 

It looked like the Orcs had been throwing waste in the rift while building more fortifications around the fortress and by the sound of it, the beast that was sleeping in the gap was not happy about that.

 

Suddenly, the ground started shaking and a pillar of black flames erupted from the bottom of the valley.

 

The bridge got destroyed very fast and a black dragon emerged vertically from its hideout at an impressive speed.

 

Very quickly, the dragon flew over the fortress and started showering in dark flames, turning the desert into a land of fire.

 

It was the first time I had seen a dragon in reality and it looked way bigger than what I had imagined. It had a high number of grey spikes on its black scales and bright red eyes that glowed in a furious manner.

After five minutes of pure destruction, nothing was left from the Orcs’ buildings. The dragon was still hovering in the skies, looking for more opponents to exterminate. As it realised there was no longer any Orc alive, it shifted its gaze towards the only living being left in the area : me.

 

However, I was expecting that and had already started running as soon as I saw the dragon going on a rampage. The reason is that I could not hope to defeat it as long as I stayed near Lunq rocks.

 

Luckily, I was already standing at the borders of the Sandstorm Desert and when the black menace caught up to me, I had reached a location that no longer restricted me from using Mana.

 

Despite my predictions, the dragon didn’t attack me immediately. Instead, it stopped in midair and stared at me. It then opened its mouth and talked.

 

“Human… you are like me, aren’t you ? A renegade.”



***

 

I was speechless. First of all because I did not expect a dragon to be able to speak – the books I had read about them describe them as A rank monsters, not intelligent creatures capable of speech.

 

The second reason is because it looked like he had seen right through me. I was intrigued and curious to know why he called me a renegade. I decided to speak with him before fighting, although I was almost certain of winning a fight against him, even with only 65% of my total power.

 

“A renegade ? Ha, ha, ha… Maybe you could call me that.”

“There is nothing to hide, human. My eyes do not lie and I can see your Aura. It is tainted. It used to be gold but it is now full of shades of black. Only a forsaken could have such an aura. Just like me.”

“Do you have a tragic story as well ? I’d be glad to hear it but my time is precious you see ?”

“Such an insolent human… I am being extremely kind by allowing you to live another few seconds before I burn you to a crisp like I did with these primitive Orcs.”

“Burn you say ? Ha, ha, ha… that’s funny but I don’t think you could burn me more than I already am.”

 

I decided to remove my mask and show the dragon the ugly truth about my face.

 

“Clinging to your life like the pathetic human you are. I do not know the reason you were at the same place as Orcs but the fact is that my sleep has been disturbed. I shall not forgive such insolence. I shall now be merciful and free you from your suffering.”

Dark fire started accumulating in the mouth of the dragon. It was obvious that its next attack was going to be aimed at me. But I was prepared.

 

“If you are able to see my aura, then you should not have started a fight with me…”

 

The black fireball was shot but never reached its target. That is because it was trapped into a gigantic tornado.

 

“I had a plan in case I ever met a dragon. It would be stupid to waste Mana trying to take one down with fireballs and such due to how mobile they are in the air. Therefore it is best to use Wind Magic and Gravity Magic.”

 

Although the dragon managed to dodge the tornado, the wind generated by it disturbed the black lizard’s flight which allowed me to pin it down easily with『Extreme Burden』, a Gravity Magic spell that puts a high pressure on the enemy to squash it to the ground.

 

Although it was now on the ground, it didn’t make the dark drake any less dangerous. But for me it was now a piece of cake to defeat it.

 

The dragon charged towards me and tried to slash me with its razor-like claws but『Wind Push』allowed me to dodge the attack. After evading several desperate attacks, I finally used Earth Magic to trap the dragon by sealing its legs and arms into the ground.

 

I then spawned an『Earth Spike』strong enough to pierce the dragon’s scales and enchanted it with『Shadow Skin』before stabbing it into the creature’s chest. I tried to avoid killing the dragon but still stabbed it deep inside him.

 

The dragon screamed in agony but it did not die. However, its fate was now in my hands as it could neither move nor attack me anymore.

 

“… Looks like this is the end. My pride got in the way and I did not realise how powerful you were, despite seeing your threatening Aura, human. Kill me now.”

“Ha, ha, ha. What purpose is there in killing you ? No, no… I have much better plans for you. You are coming with me.”

“I hope you are not trying to tame a dragon, human mage. I would never bow down to a weaker being, especially a human.”

“You clearly saw that I am stronger than you, right ? This isn’t even my full power.”

“Dragons are honourable creatures. That may work with some of my kind, but I am not a normal dragon. You can be sure I would kill you whenever I get the chance.”

“Oh but I never believed in a relationship built on trust. That’s why I stabbed you with an enchanted spear. I read that dragons have a high healing rate. Your chest is going to recover from that wound very fast but that spear is going to stay inside your body. And I can make it devour your insides by reactivating it whenever I want.”

 

This was not actually entirely true. It was possible for me to make『Shadow Skin』eat the dragon from its insides but I would require Wahnsinn’s assistance, so what I just said was currently a bluff.

 

“I see… you’re a clever one aren’t you ? But that matters not. I would still choose death over losing my freedom.”

“Aaaah… you’re a stubborn one aren’t you ? When did I say you were becoming my slave ?”

“What ?”

“You said you are a renegade, right ? Then I am logically assuming you are a renegade to other dragons. That being said, you also seem to despise humans and Orcs.”

“This is all true. I wish for the destructions of dragons and humans. I don’t care about the Orcs, these ones just paid the price for disturbing my sleep.”

“Then we have a similar objective ! Look, I will help you getting revenge on dragons and I also seek for the destruction of humans.”

“A human seeking the destruction of his own kind ? Truly… you sound like me. Speak, human for I am listening. What do you expect from me ?”

“I want you to help me get rid of the Orcs first. Then we will  go over to the Dorua continent and get my burns healed. Finally, we will come back to Sill and eradicate the humans there. After this is done, I will help you to annihilate the dragons.”

“It sounds too good to be true…”

“Well, I am still threatening you with a bomb inside your body. You’d better not get in my way.”

“You do have the upper hand. If you help me accomplish my revenge, human, then I shall accept. What is your name ?”

“I am Joker. What about you ?”

“Houhandorkalis used to be my draconic name. But I now hate it. Feel free to call me whatever you want, Joker.”

“Now that you are on my side, I can finally complete my quest, ha, ha, ha. Spades will be your name.”

 

This would be the first ace in my army to accomplish my goals. With a dragon on my side… nothing could stop me.

 

At least, that is what I thought due to my joy of gaining a powerful ally. But it was my mistake for overlooking how many Orcs there actually were.

 

What I thought could be finished in a few months actually took four more years. Four years during which I had to survive from my disease by absorbing a kind of potion I crafted that allowed me to slow down my health’s decay.

 

I was close to reaching my 20th birthday when I woke up in one of the beds of the Orc capital, Gal’Bruud.


At long last, there was not a single Orc remaining in the entire world.

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