The Binding Cycle of Life and Death — Part 4
The dragon’s tail destroyed several large buildings as it flew at me. I was able to dodge it, but I didn’t get the opportunity to counterattack. I had to back off to avoid getting slashed by its claws. Is it just me, or is this thing getting faster and faster?
Its movements had been awkward and sluggish at first, but it was starting to shake its rust. Landing counterattacks had gotten several times more difficult. I couldn’t tell if it was because it had finally gotten used to its new body or if it was starting to recall the way it had moved in life, but the result was the same.
The undead it summoned were weak, individually, but a seemingly infinite number of them were crawling out of every nook and cranny. It was almost like my pets, who were fighting them off to ensure that I could focus on the dragon, were the main characters in a zombie movie that was in the midst of its climax. And things weren’t looking good. They were slowly but surely being overwhelmed by the enemies’ sheer numbers.
Time was not on our side.
I managed to slip past its defenses and smack the sword sticking out of its forehead with one of the divine spear’s sword beams, but it wasn’t as effective as I had hoped. The projectile landed on target and erased everything it touched, but all the damage that I dealt was soon nullified by the skeletal dragon’s regeneration. It was almost like the creature had recognized the cursed blade as a part of its body.
According to Magic Eye, all my attack really did was make it so that the undead dragon had even more power over the cursed blade. In other words, the idea had been a total flop. I fucked up. Welp, time to fall back on my last resort.
“You know what? Fuck you! I’m just pulling you right the fuck out!”
I went from maintaining a reasonable distance to diving straight at the blade. The dragon reacted by rearing its head and flailing about to get me away from it.
I tried slicing its head off so I could stun it, but that didn’t work either. It started firing weaker roars at me to keep me from approaching, likely because it had realized that I was trying to go after its greatest weakness.
“Stop thinking, goddammit!” I cursed. “You don’t even have a brain!”
A seed of panic began sprouting within me. I was at an impasse. There was nothing I could do.
“Yuki, this is Phynar. We’re about to bombard the undead dragon with a wave of attacks. You and your subordinates should evacuate the area if you don’t want to get caught in the crossfire.”
A voice called out to me, carried by the wind. Oh yeah, isn’t this that Whisper spell that the elves use?
“Fall back!” I barked Rir and the others an order. “We’ve got friendlies firing down on us from above!”
The attack came as soon as we retreated. Its form was that of a bizarre liquid, spilled from the sky, poured directly on top of the massive undead beast.
The airships appeared, deactivating their stealth functions one after another, right as I started to wonder where it was all coming from. Following the splash was a barrage of magic, a veritable bombardment from our airborne artillery.
“Wow. That’s a lightshow if I’ve ever seen one.”
Hell, it might even be this world’s first organised airstrike. Hmm… actually, maybe not, seeing as how they already have the knights on wyverns and whatnot.
The attack drastically trimmed down the number of undead spread throughout the city and even did a pretty good number on the dragon. Its movements were dulled again, returned to how they were immediately after its awakening. And for some odd reason, it wasn’t regenerating anywhere nearly as quickly either. Almost seems like it’s run out of gas or something.
Staring at the dragon with Magic Eye informed me that there wasn’t nearly as much negative mana around him anymore. What gives? My magic wasn’t doing shit to it. Maybe it was that weird liquid?
“How unfortunate. It looks like it’s still moving. Unfortunately, we’ve used up all of our sacred water,” said Phynar. “If you’re going to pull out the sword in its head, then this is your chance. Our analyses have shown that it’s what’s gathering all the monster’s negative mana.”
I had no idea if he could actually hear me, but I shouted out an acknowledgement as I lopped off the dragon’s head with my divine spear and climbed on top of its skull.
“Hey asshole, long time no see. Gotta say, you’re looking a lot more pathetic than you were the last time.”
Throwing my spear back into my inventory, I grabbed Tortund Ruin with both hands and pulled on it with all the force that my demon lord-tier body had.
The sword screamed at me, but it refused to budge. It felt like I was trying to pull the steel bars out of a reinforced concrete pillar, and the mana enveloping the helldrake wasn’t making my life any easier. The dark mist began invading my body through my fingers, slowly eating away at my flesh.
It was negative mana, a massive surge of negative mana that I had no hope of resisting. It spoke to me, speaking in whispers to my mind. Just like Enne had when I first grabbed her.
The sensation that accompanied the murmur was so eerie it was spine tingling, like I had worms and centipedes crawling all along my skin. They were climbing up my arms, creeping past my shoulders and invading my whole body.
“Oh fuck no! Why the fuck!? Anything but this disgusting shit! Knock it off, you piece of junk, I swear I’m going to fucking strangle you sideways!”
The undead dragon’s body began to rise. One of its boney forelimbs extended towards me, as if to retrieve its fallen head.
“All units! Chaaaaaaaarge!”
The shout was accompanied by a stampede of footsteps. Allied soldiers rushed out from our surroundings and encircled the dragon.
“Keep the monster at bay! Do not let it get in his way!”
“Hit ‘er right in the flank, eh? Do it now, laddies! Heave!”
Two groups had arrived on scene, led by the king of the beasts and the king of the dwarves, respectively. Scanning the crowd with an analytical eye, I realized that it was an elite unit. All the troops were high leveled.
Though they were unable to damage the helldrake, they were still able to stall it. Some of them pulled it by the tail, dragging it further, while others attacked its remaining front leg and hindered its ability to keep its balance.
Now that the negative mana wasn’t as thick as it was before, they were actually able to attack the helldrake without being swallowed up by the magic’s influence. And the same could be said for my pets, who had also gone on the offensive.
Everyone had come to assist. But Tortund Ruin was refusing to budge. It didn’t move an inch, even though I was using every last bit of strength I had.
“Fuck! You! Don’t underestimate me, you stupid fucking sword! I can even make! Lefi move! When she’s being! Stubborn as shit! And planting her feet! Into the goddamn ground! You think! You can beat that!?”
My muscles were tearing, my veins had already burst open, and I was feeling nauseous. I could tell that the negative mana was getting to me, throwing off the balance of energies within me.
But I didn’t give a shit. I continued to focus my strength and pull with everything I had.
I continued to use my whole body to draw the blade, clenching my teeth to bear with the pain that assailed me as my arms blackened and broke.
“I don’t care if you’re a fucking basement dwelling degenerate with no intention of coming out of the fucking closet! You! Are! Getting! Out! Here! Today!”
There was a crack. Right where the sword was stuck in the dragon’s forehead.
The bone split apart, just enough for the sword to budge.
And that was all I needed.
It was followed by an explosion of negative mana as I wrenched the blade from its pedestal. Fuck yes!
I retrieved the divine spear from my inventory, pushed it into its second form, and cleaved the cursed blade in half in one fell swoop, a single quick motion. And after using my wings to correct my posture, I charged straight at the headless skeleton that remained.
My first strike was a vertical slash. I split the corpse into two perfect halves, then swept my spear horizontally to bisect it yet again.
As I’d hit its threshold, the halberd began stealing my mana again, but I ignored it.
“Bitch! This is what we call a fuckin’ clean up op!”
I continued to attack, relentlessly cleaving at the drake even as my mana pool drained.
“Follow his lead, but do not get caught up in his attacks! We will not be able to treat your wounds!” shouted the beast king.
“Ya ‘eard ‘im, lads! This be yer chance to do summin’ worth bragging aboot!”
Sensing that the monster’s demise would mark the war’s end, the allied monarchs rallied their men and charged into the fray with renewed vigour. Everyone was focused on mutilating the helldrake’s corpse so that it could no longer regenerate.
“All forces fall back! We will be bombarding the area shortly!” said Phynar, with some sort of magic to amplify his voice.
Several strikes of lightning fell from the sky, dying the night in pure white.
The evil-cleansing thunderbolts purged all they touched. Each was backed with such force that my ears nearly popped. My hearing wasn’t the only sense that was robbed. I was blinded by all the smoke kicked up by the blast; my ability to see was outright nullified.
The strike continued, lasting for an entire minute before finally dying down.
And when the dust finally cleared and my ears finally stopped ringing, I was finally able to make the observation that nothing remained. Nothing but fine white powder.
Cheers erupted from every man present, spreading throughout the army like a wildfire. The spirited victory cries shook the capital, rocking the very earth beneath my feet.