༺ End of the Midnight Sun (3) ༻
The Dragonian, Pesche, felt his heart sink at the sight that unfolded in front of his eyes.
His comrades, his brothers in arms, fell to death after getting beheaded.
An unrealistic sight.
The scales, the pride of the species, the leather skin beneath them. It was breaking apart without being able to overcome that seemingly ordinary iron sword.
Obviously, it would be rational to think that the blade of the sword would be shattered, but he couldn’t comprehend why his brothers’ scales were being torn apart.
The heads of his brother fell to the ground. The expression on his face, as his brother’s head rolled in his direction, was that of shock, as if he couldn’t believe that his brother had died.
With a creaking sound, Pesche raised his head.
At the end of his gaze, there was a mysterious man who turned his brother into a corpse.
It was a human. A species that don’t live long.
A robe tightly pressed against his body. Beneath it, he could see pale skin and dreary eyes.
At first glance, those eyes seemed lethargic. However, if you take a closer look at them, you could notice a seething ferocity swirling in them.
Pesche was able to realize at once the identity of that short-lived species.
It would be strange if he didn’t know. The divinity that engulfed the whole space, and the written laws carved in gold.
Furthermore, the compulsion felt in the rules.
It was different from enchantment. It was different from magic. It was different from mystical powers.
How did I realize? The blessing engraved on his dragon blood helped him realize at once.
Plus, he also knew what that meant.
The closest servants of the Gods.
The most honorable seekers of the truth.
For more than a thousand years, the Apostles have supported the Holy Kingdom, which has a population of 10,000 at most.
An Apostle was present in front of them.
With that fact alone, a realization dawned upon Pesche.
The Saint is here. The Apostle must have come to meet the Saint. The chieftain wasn’t wrong.
Then, one more thought flashed through his mind as if it were a natural fact.
‘I’m going to die here.’
He and his brothers, who have met the Apostle here, will fall without exception.
That thought didn’t cross his mind by chance. It was a thought that occurred to him instinctually.
His body shuddered. He felt suffocated, and his vision blurred.
…I naturally took a step backwards.
Pesche clenched his teeth and tried to control himself, but even that was not easy.
Avenging his brothers, the long-cherished desire of his kin, and such secondary thoughts drifted away from his mind.
His mind was focused on one emotion. An emotion he had already forgotten and had to struggle a lot to remember.
The moment he met the Apostle, the moment he saw those ferocious eyes, fear engulfed his entire being.
Even if he tried to be calm and assess his strength, the conclusion did not change.
His body was more powerful than ever. It was overflowing with strength that he doubted if it was really his own.
This phenomenon is occurring in accordance with the rules engraved in this space.
However, this didn’t guarantee victory.
Even if his physical strength had grown stronger, he couldn’t cast magic. There was no spell to stop that sword of the Apostle that would pierce his heart.
Pesche knew. The reason why dragonians are called a high-ranking species is due to the blessing they received from their parent dragon. The blessing that flows through the veins of every member of their tribe.
Without it, no matter how strong a dragonian was, he was nothing more than a beast.
Then a thought flashed through his mind.
However, that was also impossible.
Obviously, they’ll be faster. His body was overflowing with energy and he was far from that Apostle, but he was convinced that a sword would come flying from behind even if he decided to fly away.
The Apostle’s leisurely demeanor reaffirmed that belief.
In the end, the conclusion that was drawn through reason, was only able to fulfill the role of turning the fear that was weighing down on Peshe’s heart into utter despair.
Again, his fangs gnashed against each other. His muscles tightened.
Pesche’s eyes turned to the brothers who were ‘still’ alive.
Eyes trembling in anxiety.
Pesche was able to realize through them that all of the brothers who were standing came to that same conclusion.
A tense atmosphere.
At the next moment, the Apostle’s voice resounded.
“Aren’t you coming?”
It was akin to a beast’s howl.
As Pesche heard the Apostles’ voice, it was the first thought that occurred to him.
Pesche shuddered at the voice and noticed that the Apostle was staring at him with a subtle smile. Seeing this sight, he felt anger rising from the depths of his heart.
His long-cherished desire was before his eyes. Behind the Apostle, there was salvation and glory for his kind.
But what kind of hell is this?
After anger, anxiety settled in, and then came self-hatred.
His voice trembled more than ever. He was trembling even more than the time when he saw the shadow of the parent dragon for the first time in his life.
The brothers looked at Pesche. Pesche received their gazes, and cried out in a struggling voice.
“To our long-cherished wish!!!”
Pesche charged at Vera. The moment he yelled as such, his brothers also stepped forward.
The smile deepened on the lips of the Apostle. Pesche, who was rekindled with despair at the sight, shook off his emotions and reached for the neck of the Apostle.
It was a frantic attempt.
It was a pathetic move.
Also, in the end, it was a move that couldn’t reach him.
The Apostle raised his sword. A sword raised only when Pesche’s hand reached out towards the Apostle’s neck.
The thin sword cleaved Pesche’s wrist.
It was a sound that he didn’t hear through his ears, rather it directly resounded within his head.
The field of vision was stretched wide. The sound that accompanied it also echoed infinitely.
Pesche opened his eyes wide and gawked as if they were about to tear as he watched his wrists being severed in front of him.
A moment that seemed like an eternity. In the end, when Pesche returned to reality, his body writhed in agony.
His heart beat violently. The senses of the whole body became sharp. An electric current constantly surged through his head.
Vera smiled as if his mouth was about to burst at the sensation he had not felt in a long time.
An attack aimed at the left chest.
Another one towards the ankle.
After dodging them with minimal movement, Vera swung the sword to decapitate the dragonian crawling on the floor.
The sensation of cleaving flesh and slicing bones ran through his arms to the spine. Then, the sensation that crept up to his spine spread throughout his head, producing a stimulating sensation.
Splash. A chilly sound rang out, and a fountain of blood soared over the cleanly severed cross-section of the neck.
A scream echoed. It was the sound of the dragonian who was aiming for his heart just before.
Upon hearing the sound, Vera turned his head to look at the source, and indeed there was a dragonian with an expression full of anger and despair.
Vera felt a sense of joy upon seeing his expression, as he laughed and uttered words in a mocking tone.
“Don’t feel dejected. I will send you along soon.”
The dragonian’s eyes turned to Vera. His complexion soon turned into a furious expression.
The dragonian attacked again. Vera didn’t shy away from him this time.
He tightened his muscles, bent his upper body, then held the sword with both of his hands.
As soon as the dragonian approached his nose, Vera swung the sword with all his might.
Soon a sound which was mixed with the swinging of sword and cracking of bones reverberated.
As the sword, which had passed from his outstretched fingertips to the arms, shoulders, chest, and waist, soared in the air again, the dragonian was cleaved in half and fell to the floor.
There was the sound of chunks of meat clinging to the dirty ground, and the sound of footsteps trampling on them.
It was a surprise attack from behind.
When Vera, who sensed that presence, rotated his body and swung his sword once more. The swung sword swept through the dragonian’s neck, who launched a surprise attack on him.
Another sound resounded, and Vera’s vision reflected the falling dragonian with his head spinning in midair.
Vera muttered inwardly as he looked at the beheaded neck falling to the floor.
There’s only one left.
Vera let out a deep sigh. His gaze turned to the only living dragonian.
In a corner of the vacant lot, there was a dragonian crawling on the floor with his wrists cut off.
The motion of crawling on the floor while breathing heavily was obviously an attempt to escape.
Vera walked slowly, letting out a little ‘chuckle’ at the sight, and smirked.
“That’s not good? All your brothers are fighting and dying, so don’t you think it’s unfair for you to run away alone.”
A sarcastic tone.
When Vera spoke so, the rattled dragonian slowly turned to Vera.
The water rippled through the dragonian’s pupils. Tears ran down his eyes, sweeping through the dirt-stained face, leaving crooked marks.
A face stained with fear.
The moment I saw him.
Vera’s body stopped.
It was due to the sudden surge of vertigo.
Vera’s head, which had been burning from a while ago, cooled in an instant.
Those eyes, that expression full of fear as that dragonian stared at himself, was a very familiar expression.
In my past life, it was the eyes of those who looked at me.
His self from back then reflected in those eyes.
Reason, which returned late, took away his joy.
A question flashed through his mind.
‘…What am I doing?’
It was a question he was asking himself.
The moment he saw the blood, he became excited and wielded his sword, reminiscent of a beast just like before. Thus, he asked himself.
As his empty left hand swept through his face, he could feel the blood dripping over his hand.
A sticky and unpleasant sensation.
In the meantime, he heard the dragon pleading. At that, Vera swung his sword again and beheaded the dragonian.
The feeling of the sword cutting through the flesh was the same as before, but this time there was no pleasure.
Vera’s eyes looked around.
Pieces of flesh scattered all over the place. Blood puddles everywhere. And he was the only one standing amidst them.
At this moment, Vera felt as if he had returned to his past life.
‘Not a bit…’
I haven’t changed a bit.
Realizing his own inadequacy, he was preparing to change.
He consoled himself in that way, but in the end, when he entered the battle and wielded his sword, he was just as drunk as his previous life.
He gazed at his left hand. His reddish palm drenched in blood contained a fervent heat.
Vera felt the heat and fell into deep thought once more.
‘The sword I wielded….’
Was it really a sword that could guard those under its shadow?
He clenched his fists.
‘…No it wasn’t’
The sword he wielded just earlier was a sword meant to kill. It was only a sword to tear his opponent apart. It was a sword to impel the joy of tearing and ripping the flesh.
Suddenly, Renee’s face flashed through Vera’s head.
He remembered being happy at the thought that he had closed the gap somewhat. The thought that the distance between their steps has narrowed.
He wasn’t worthy. He was still lacking.
Standing next to her, he was not enough to protect Renee.
I was mistaken.
Now that he has come this far in order to stand by her side, he believed that he had grown.
He had fallen into that delusion.
Suddenly, there was a sensation as if he was drowning from within.
Vera frowned and heaved a deep sigh, as if he was vomiting at the sensation of being crushed all over his body.
He was wielding the sword of a beast.
It was only when Vera raised his sword that he realized that fact, only when he faced the enemy in front of him did he understand that he still… hadn’t changed.
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