Chapter 43 – The fall of a king

 

“Akmantosh, give me a full report on the current state of the war.”

“Yes my king. It seems the Porcephone army is currently advancing towards our last stronghold.”

“I see… so the dragon army I had set up in Bruneciel was defeated…”

“It looks like the Porcephone Empire is receiving the help of the legendary First Sage, my king. I don’t believe we have the power to oppose him… Forgive my rudeness but I suggest surrendering, my king !”

“…”

 

Behind Akmantosh the messenger and myself, another draconic figure appeared. It was Hylda, my most loyal supporter, as well as the strongest Ice Dragon in the world. Upon hearing the plea suggested by Akmantosh, Hylda frowned and seemed to get angry.

 

“How dare you suggest such a thing to our king ? Do you not know how hard it is for him !?”

“But… I still think that we do not stand a chance against the First Sage himself…”

“While that may be true, our king is fighting for the freedom of our people ! He is fighting for us to keep our territory.”

“Enough, Hylda.”

“Excuse my anger, my king.”

 

Despite being the strongest Ice Dragon, Hylda still deeply respected me. As the Dragon King, I was considered to be the most powerful dragon and as such, it was my duty to unite my people and stand up against the oppression of the Porcephone Empire to fight for our freedom. I was ready to give up on my life if it would allow us to remain just like we have ever been.

 

“How long before the Porcephone army reaches our stronghold ?.”

“They will be there in about twenty hours.”

“Then I shall receive them myself. Hylda, you will be in control of the army while I’m gone. If I do not come back, please make the choice that will involve the fewest casualties for our people.”

“My king, please allow me to fight alongside with you !”

“As powerful as you are, you do not stand a chance against the First Sage. I will be the one to duel him.”

“I… if that is what you wish then so be it, my king. But please be careful…”

“I’ll be on my way, waiting for them to arrive then.”

 

I left my room and flew in the direction of the stronghold’s gates. And there I waited. And waited. Until finally, in the horizon, I could see the imperial army approaching.

 

“First Sage ! I am the Dragon King ! As the leader of the Dragon Race, I challenge you to a duel ! In order to reduce the casualties in both of our ranks, I ask that this uninterrupted one-on-one battle will decide the winner of the war !”

 

I shouted loudly enough for everyone around to hear. After a few minutes, I got my answer from the only Elf in this army full of humans.

 

“I accept your challenge, Dragon King. My name is Arcadeus. Now, let us duel.”

 

The Elf walked away from the rest of the army and I rushed towards him. I was already flying in the air so I had the upper hand. The First Sage fired dozens of spells at me, all of which I dodged with ease thanks to my unparalleled speed. I then made use of my『Dragon Breath』

to try to roast the man. However, despite the huge power of this attack, Arcadeus had managed to parry it with a shield made of hardened rock.

 

He then tried to pin me down using some kind of wind Magic. But as the Dragon King, my mastery of Magic itself was high and as such I was able to deflect whatever he tried to do to me.

 

After an intense exchange of『Firebolts』, 『Dragon Breaths』, 『Thundershocks』 and 『Draconic Slashes』, I finally managed to put the Sage in a position that satisfied me. Flying straight at him, I surprised him by accelerating thanks to『Whirlwind』and crashing onto him, successfully pinning him down.

 

As he was at my mercy, I readied a deadly『Dragon Breath』and waited before firing it.

 

“You have lost. Do you surrender, First Sage ? As member of a Race that values honour highly, I do not mind sparing my opponent.”

“Do it.”

 

At first, I thought Arcadeus was asking me to finish him. But after this moment of carelessness, I soon realised that I was not the one he was talking to. Behind me, a hundred Mages fired their spells at the same time, hitting me with a deadly combination of destructive Magic.

 

“Do you really think that petty things like honour can achieve victory on the battlefield ? As I thought, the Dragon Race is really naive…”

 

Arcadeus stood back up and faced me, with a loathful face. I had a hard time believing that one as great as the First Sage himself had cheated to defeat me…

 

My whole body was critically wounded but I could hardly feel the pain, mainly due to the rage that I currently felt.

 

“IS THIS REALLY THE WAY OF HUMANS ? IS THIS HOW YOU TREAT A FAIR DUEL ?”

 

Exploding with furor, I managed to shake off the humans around me and aimed straight at Arcadeus. However, he used some kind of unknown Magic and sent me flying in the air.

 

“You’re a bother now. Just die.”

As I landed on the ground, I got swallowed by a gigantic fireball and I fell into a deep slumber as my whole body, that used to have bright red scales, became tainted by the burns and turned full black.

 

***

 

In the darkness surrounding my consciousness, I could only feel the echo of my own regrets.

 

“Sorry, everyone… your king has failed you… I wasn’t able to protect you…”

 

As I thought all hopes were lost, another voice popped up in my mind.

 

“Are you really going to let your people die ? Are you going to let the entire Dragon Race go extinct ? Will the renowned Dragon King really let his kin down ?”

 

“NO, OF COURSE NOT !”

 

My sheer wrath alone was able to bring me back to life. Whether I had actually died or not, that I did not know. But what I knew was that I had the duty to protect my race and I could not die until I had successfully repelled the human invaders.

 

As I awoke, I noticed the colour change on my scales. But this did not matter for I knew others would recognise me thanks to my tall stature (I was about three times as big as a normal dragon). Something else that looked strange though, was the fact that I could not see a single soldier around me. Where could they have gone that quickly ?

 

I flew straight towards the stronghold… which was no longer there. Instead there was only a gigantic crater, most likely caused by some kind of high scale Magic.

 

Where… where is everyone ? Could it be that I slept for much longer than I thought ?

 

Hylda… my best friend… and the rest of the Dragon Race… I need to save them… but where ?

 

***

 

After wandering around the entire continent for six months straight restlessly, without even wasting time drinking or eating, I searched. But there was no trace of my people anywhere.

Still, it was my willpower alone that had brought me back to life and it was also that willpower that was keeping me alive. My sense of duty to protect my fellow dragons was so strong that the pain on my own body did not matter to me.

 

I had witnessed multiple new towns and villages occupied by humans. As I had searched everywhere for my kin, I had noticed that most of the towns previously built by us, dragons, were now inhabited by humans.

 

Until at last, I reached a place on the far end of the continent. A place in the mountains around a village called Duskharbor. A village that wasn’t there before the war…

 

And by searching deep into these mountains, I finally stumbled upon a dragon’s den.

 

Although it was called den, it was big enough to host the community of about three hundred dragons that were living there.

 

When I noticed this, my wrath and sadness seemed to disappear for a moment. I rushed towards the den and met some of the dragons guarding its entrance.

 

“Who are you ? I’ve never seen a dragon like you around here before…”

“What ? How come you don’t recognise me ? Oh it must be the black scales… they used to be red. I’m the Dragon King !”

“The Dragon King… no way… hey Asphalth, go get Lady Siprieth.

 

Siprieth… that name… yes I remember. She used to be one of my generals.

 

Soon after, Siprieth showed up. But instead of greeting me, she looked at me like I was some kind of stranger.

 

“So it’s you… you have some nerve showing here, Demonic King.”

“Demonic King… wait what ?”

“Everyone knows that the Dragon King betrayed us on that fateful day, three years ago.”

 

So it had been three years… but wait a minute, betrayed ? I mean, sure I lost the battle but why did she have to say that ?

 

“I went to battle their leader for the sake of our kin… Hylda and Akmantosh should know !”

“Akmantosh died in battle during the fight of the stronghold. Hylda managed to get away before being captured and went into hiding.”

“Get away… I told her to lead our people to the safest place, should she have to go hide…Not go hide by herself…”

“Whatever happened, what you did was way worse. You promised to go fighting for our sake and you left us. You left your own people while you hid yourself like a coward !”

“What do you mean !? I went to have a duel with their leader !”

“Yeah right, that’s why he was unscratched when he invaded us. And that’s why you’re still alive too. You’re just a liar. I don’t know why you even had the audacity to show your face here. Everyone in this den thinks the same. No one wants to see you ever again, Dragon King.”

“What is this madness…”

“Everyone loathes you here. And be assured the legends will not pass down your name as the Dragon King, but rather as the Renegade. Look at you, you’re not even half as strong as how you used to be. Merely seeing you leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now leave this den forever. I banish you from this place.”

 

As she said that, she left the place. The dragon guards looked at me with scornful eyes.

 

Suddenly I forgot why I had been looking for this place. It literally disappeared from my memories. “Why am I here” I thought.

 

Hylda… betrayed me

 

My enemies… the ones who hate me. The ones who loathe me. The humans and… the dragons.

 

It makes sense now. I have no duty towards them anymore because I am no longer their king.

 

So… what is it that I truly want to do now ?

 

I want… to go on a rampage. This darkness that surrounds me… I want to embrace it.

 

A renegade huh…


Yes, that’s what I am.

 

I screamed in wrath and let out my power. Or at least I tried to let it out but the harsh truth is that I had not been eating or drinking for six months. My power had diminished so much that the guards easily kicked me out of the mountains.

 

To be reduced to such a state… how shameful. But it’s fine.

 

I flew in a straight line for who knows how long. The change in scenery led me to believe that I was now on the Klug continent. And I had found a deep and dark pit.

 

Yes… if I sleep here… If I bathe in the shadows of this pit… I will be able to recover my powers…

 

And when it happens… the world will feel the wrath of Houhandorkalis, the Renegade.

 

xogvx0

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