A Draconic Date — Part 2
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
The sun shone down on us from up above as Lefi and I soared through the sky. Warm winds wrapped themselves against our faces and our shoulders before flying right by. Beneath us lay a landscape that possessed all the majesty nature had to offer, a landscape that extended for as far as the eye could see. There were beautiful lakes that glimmered as the sun’s rays reflected off of them, large fields where the grass swayed in the wind, and deep ravines with rivers roaring right through them.
There weren’t too many creatures out and about, but some had started inhabiting the region again now that Lefi had basically turned herself into a shut-in. I happened to spot something that resembled a deer taking a drink at the riverbank, as well as a horse taking it easy as it sat around in a field of grass. Hints of wildlife were scattered all over the region.
Everything before my eyes came together to form a single scene so perfect and cohesive that I wanted to label it as a bonafide work of art. Even just gazing upon it got my heart pumping with excitement. You know, I basically think this every single time, but learning to fly was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Being airborne just feels so… good.
Only after experiencing flight for myself did I finally truly understand those that longed for the skies. I now understood why Icarus had crafted wings of wax and why the Wright brothers so fervently pursued the creation of an aircraft. I guess this is how pilots and stuff must’ve felt back on Earth. Flying just… makes me feel so many different things I can’t even begin to describe them all.
I looked beside me as I savoured the sensation of flying. I looked past both my black wings and my red and black ones and gazed upon the dragon girl flying next to me. Unlike mine, her wings glimmered with a silver sheen. And unlike mine, they almost seemed to be sculpted. They were so beautiful I suspected that they’d been artificially created with perfection in mind. The way Lefi looked as she flew was a far cry from her usual, slovenly self. She was so majestic and beautiful that my eyes couldn’t help but find themselves drawn to her. You know… getting to see her like this more or less already makes this whole trip well worth it.
“Why ever are you staring at me? Could you not help but be fascinated by my charm?”
“Uh huh. Tooooootally,” I said. “You’re incredibly beautiful, Lefi.”
“Eh!? Uhm…” Lefi started to panic. She suddenly flushed a deep shade of red and stuttered as she tried to figure out a reply. “T-Thanks.”
Oh come on, Lefi. What the heck? Weren’t you the one that suggested it? Stop with all the blushing. You’re going to make me start blushing too.
“A-Anyway, it looks like we’ve flown over our mountain.” I immediately tried to steer the conversation in a new direction. “Where exactly are we going again?”
“O-our destination is already within sight.” Grasping my intentions immediately, the dragon joined in on trying to dispel the awkwardness. “It lies upon that mountain.”
She pointed at the tallest mountain in the massive range that was laid out before us as she spoke. It was so tall that I couldn’t see its peak despite being airborne. The giant rocky piece of terrain shot well up above the clouds. I had cast more than just a few glances at it from far off in the distance, and I had always thought that it was big, but approaching it really emphasized its size. Oh man. That’s one heck of a mountain right there. Holy shit.
“My old nest was atop this mountain’s peak,” said Lefi.
“That’s really high up,” I said, impressed. “I kinda want to check it out. Would you mind showing me around?”
“There is little to see but formations of rock.” The dragon girl cocked an eyebrow. She didn’t quite seem to understand my motivations.
“Doesn’t matter,” I replied with a smile. “I still want to see it anyway. Since it’s where you used to live.”
“I-If you insist,” said Lefi. For some odd reason, her cheeks had turned a bit red, but she suddenly sped up drastically before I could get a good look at her. “I shall show you the place I once called home. Do not fall behind.”
“Huh!? Wait up!” I hit the gas and tried my best to keep up.
“Are… we… finally… here…?” I panted. We had almost reached the mountain’s apex. Lefi had guided me through a series of clouds and up along a stone face that led to its peak.
“I am surprised to see you already so exhausted,” she said in half amazement, half exasperation.
“Iunno what… you were expecting…” I said. “The air here… is really thin…”
The air had done exactly as I expected and grown thinner as we got higher into the sky. It was the first time I had ever gone so far up. My lungs desperately craved oxygen. Wait, why’s Lefi fine? Hmm… I guess dragons are probably just built differently or something. I mean, they are supposed to more or less rule the skies and whatnot, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they just happened to be adapted to it. Man, I’m so jelly. I wish I could have a body that’s got no problem being this high up.
Though I had voiced a whole series of complaints, my body had in fact already started to adapt to high altitudes. I seemed to be getting used to the lack of oxygen, as every minute that passed made it easier for me to breathe. Welp. That’s just what it means to be a Demon Lord, I guess. I hope I get even more adapted to this kinda stuff next time I evolve.
We reached the summit after a few more moments of travel and landed in an area that I could only describe as rocky. Beneath us was naught but a sea of clouds. I could only very occasionally see the earth below peeking through the gaps.
“Woah. So this is your old nest…?” My eyes lit up with curiosity as I examined my surroundings.
“Quite the uninteresting sight, is it not?” shrugged Lefi.
I wasn’t able to tell her that she was wrong. The entire summit was more or less decorated with nothing but large brown rocks. Sad enough as it was to say, the most noteworthy thing about them was their size, as many were as big as Lefi was in her dragon form. All in all, the scene was dreary, bland, and boring.
“Yeah, I admit it’s not all that interesting, but I’m glad I came here,” I said. It didn’t take an expert to realize that the place was well lived in. Lefi had obviously messed with a few things in order to make it easier for her to carry out her day to day activities. One of the rocks seemed like it was likely used as a table, as its surface had been cut perfectly flat. There was also another pile of rocks that had been hollowed out to create an overhang large enough to cover a full grown dragon. Looking closer, I noticed that there were silver scales and sharp fangs strewn all over. I could tell at a glance that they were Lefi’s, as they had yet to lose their shine.
The signs all pointed towards her residence. And seeing them left me feeling deeply moved. It was a strange feeling, one I couldn’t quite put into words, but I could feel it welling up within the depths of my heart nonetheless.
“Really?” she asked as she turned to me.
“How strange you are,” said Lefi with a chuckle.
Once Lefi was done laughing, she rested her head on one of my shoulders.
Neither of us said much more. We remained silent and allowed our actions to speak for us.
“Soooo… Ms. Dragon,” I addressed the silver-haired girl as I looked down what appeared to be a steep slope leading down from the summit. “Mind explaining what all this is?”
I had happened upon it in the middle of examining her property in greater detail. A wide variety of items lay directly beneath it.
“Those?” said Lefi as she glanced over. “They are but the remains of the fools that scaled this mountain to challenge me.”
The messy heap of weapons and armour almost seemed to resemble a dump. Everything there had seemed to have been carelessly tossed over the edge without much concern. But although they had been worn down as a result of mistreatment, the items in question weren’t of a terrible quality. In fact, some were so well made that they still shone a beautiful silver to this day. Some of those definitely do not look even remotely human-sized. I figured that there’d probably be races like that. I kinda want to see them for myself one day.
There was an incredible number of items present, but I didn’t see even a single set of bones amongst the pile, which meant their owners had likely long decayed and returned to the earth.
“Wow…” I blinked a few times as I stared. “There sure were a hell of a lot of idiots…”
I hadn’t done anything beyond give the pile a casual glance, but it seemed like there were easily at least a couple hundred different sets of equipment. I almost couldn’t believe it. Several hundred morons had pushed themselves through the gruelling task of climbing a massive mountain that didn’t have much in the way of air. And then, despite the sweat-dripping journey, they were easily put down the moment they reached the summit.
“I know not their origins, but there were once tales that stated that partaking of my blood would grant eternal youth and overwhelming power. False as they were, many believed them and sought my vital fluids for themselves. While removing my attackers was but a simple task, I found their persistence to be quite the annoyance,” said Lefi in a fed up tone.
While the rumours about Lefi’s blood were false, I didn’t think that anyone that happened to succeed would have gone home completely empty-handed. Lefi’s scales and fangs were materials of the highest grade. Equipment forged with Lefi-based materials as the base likely would have proven themselves as the world’s most powerful. I can kinda see how the whole eternal youth stuff was a thing though. That was how myths went back in my world too. People had always thought that eating mysterious creatures like mermaids, kappas, and tengus would let you stay young and live forever.
“I do not mind if you claim any spoils you desire. You may even retrieve all of it if you so wish,” said Lefi as she looked at the loot.
“Uhhh… you sure?”
“I never once considered it my property,” said Lefi. “I merely regarded it as trash and treated it as such. I do believe that you will find some of the items quite impressive. Though, powerful as they are, they remain unable to lay even a scratch upon my scales.”
Seeing the triumphant look on her face prompted me to force an awkward smile.
“Well… I guess I’ll take you up on that offer then.”
“Very well. Then it is all yours to take.”
I immediately started to stash everything inside of my inventory. Some of the equips looked like the stuff you’d only ever see at an end game in RPGs, but I wasn’t planning on using any of it nonetheless. I had Zaien, and I had no intention of switching her out for some other weapon. I’ll probably keep the higher tier stuff around as references and just turn everything else into DP. Heh. Oh man, I can already smell the cash. The stuff I looted off those bandits had already got me a pretty penny. I’m sure having all this will let me make myself a fortune. I’ll finally be able to summon all four of the monsters I’ve been eyeing. Oh man, I can’t wait. I’mma pawn this shit off for cash the moment I get back.
Now, now, dead dudes, I know what you’re thinking. Your weapons and armour are valuable historical artifacts that have a whole bunch of inherent value. Blah blah blah. Yeah, I don’t give two fucks. Historical value can go eat shit. I’m a demon lord. All I care about is myself. If the dungeon takes it, then I’m turning it into cold hard cash, er, DP. Period. And before you start bitching, consider this: this is all your own god damn fault for being dumb enough to climb this big ass mountain to begin with.
“What is it?”
“Do you mind if I take your fangs and scales too, while I’m at it?”
“I do not see any reason to refuse,” said Lefi. Though she hadn’t said no, the way she was looking at me made it clear that she was wondering exactly what I was up to.
I scratched my cheek in an expression of embarrassment as I began to explain.
“Well, I was kinda thinking of, y’know, making everyone matching daggers so they can defend themselves and stuff just in case. I’m sure they’d turn out really well if we used your mats as the base, so… yeah. And I also kinda really just want to have them.”
I was aware that my thoughts were getting a little bit wild. Wanting stuff just because it happened to be a part of her body at some point in time was more or less borderline psychotic. I was totally aware of that fact, so my voice had slowly started trailing off at the end, but the blush on her face made it obvious that she had heard me loud and clear either way.
“V-very well. I-I suppose that I shall let you have them then,” she stuttered. “You are correct in your assumption that weapons made from my fangs and scales would make excellent equipment. My scales are harder than even divine steel, and the only weapons capable of harming them are my very own fangs. I grant you full permission to make use of them, for like all else that lies here, I view the fangs and scales that I have shed as naught but garbage.”
“Thanks, Lefi. I’ll definitely make something real good. Just you wait!”
Oh man, I’m so excited. You know what? I might as well throw in all the like legendary class items I looted earlier while I’m at it. God damn, these daggers are going to turn out so well. Again, I have zero intention of switching Zaien out. I really don’t want to see her cry, after all, but I’m sure she’ll forgive me if all I do is add one more dagger to my repertoire. I’ve got enough materials to make something for everyone, Lefi included. Oh man, I can’t wait. Matching overpowered as fuck daggers ahoy!
I ran around and started shoving everything in my inventory shortly after thanking Lefi. I didn’t even bother trying to contain my enthusiasm. Though the look on the dragon girl’s face remained one of astounding exasperation as she watched over me, I could still feel the warmth lingering in her gaze.
Editor’s note (Joker): Hey, guys! Joker here. Man, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know, I know, everyone missed me (read: Nirvash), but I can explain. See, I went to Anime Matsuri and that burned me out, so when I got home, I didn’t really have any spare brainpower to come up with scripts for the show. So I’m sorry about that. Man, the last time I had the show, it was chapter 117. Which is pretty cool, because that’s the number of THE Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, of Halo fame. Okay, I need to try and get to these questions, but since it’s been a while, forgive me if I miss you. So thanks to kx, AntsCool, CaTastrophy427, FranckOA, topkek99, zekkendo, Mischa, kx again, Makisma fan in disguise (even though Boss answered you before I could), kx yet again, and Teivel for all your questions. Remember, if I missed you, I’m sorry. The convention is over, I’ve recovered and should be back on top of all this. If you’ve got a question, leave it below with the hashtag #AskJoker. See y’all in the next chapter!