LAND OF DRAGONS
Lino, Hannah and Seya were currently standing on top of Ennya, surveying a sight that left all three of them equally stunned. They were high up in the sky and far away from the event itself, yet it mattered little because the sheer scale of it was something none of the three had ever witnessed. Even Lino, with all his experiences -- including the Archaic Records -- had never seen something on such a massive scale unfold before his eyes.
Two Dragons, each at least ten times larger than Ennya, were currently wrapped in the skies in a battle that defied all sense of logic. One was remarkably similar to Ennya, filled with white scales, long tail winding up into a spear-tip, a pair of massive wings, and four legs, each bearing claws that could easily tear through the reality itself. The Dragon spanned over ten miles across -- size that can hardly be pictured properly -- with its wingspan half of that.
Unlike Ennya, however, the Dragon’s scales weren’t without blemishes; here and there, crimson dye of blood made its way through, occasional scorch marks making their appearance as well. The white Dragon suddenly dove down as it roared, blasting away all other sounds, causing all three standing on top of Ennya to topple over on their behinds.
The Dragon standing opposite of it was, also, a complete opposite of it; starkly black scales, occasionally shrouded in crimson and coral glows, a pair of wretched, blazing wings that were brighter than the sun, two tails at the back acting almost as massive, miles long whips, and a pair of burning eyes lodged above a massive maw that seemed large enough to swallow a mid-sized mountain whole.
The black-scaled Dragon replied in kind, roaring back as putrid flames suddenly spewed out of its maw into a frontal cone, showering the sky above. The white-scaled Dragon pierced through cleanly, its body suddenly summoning chilly winds of frost that turned into a frigid hurricane that swept over the black-scaled one; in response, the latter roared even louder, its black scales suddenly lighting up like lanterns as its whole body burst out in crimson-coral flames, thawing the frost that had found its way over.
The two Dragons clashed head-on, summoning a shockwave that had all three cowering behind Ennya’s head, holding onto their dear lives.
“Y-yo, c-could you, perhaps, retreat a bit?” Lino stuttered in terror.
“B-but, Mother is fighting! I-I need to help her!” Ennya stuttered as well, clearly only putting on a brave front.
“N-no, no need,” Lino quickly spoke out. “Look, your Mother is doing just fine. That lad just had to use his super move, and your mom took it casually. She’ll be fine.”
“R-really?” How in the fuck should I know?!!
“Really!!” whatever his thoughts were, his tongue spoke lies easily.
“A-alright... maybe we should retreat a bit...”
As the four of them retreated to a distance, two Dragons in the sky suddenly stopped their fight, hovering neatly in the sky, staring at each other. Each flutter of their massive wings caused winds to rouse and rise; had they not been so far up, they would have most-likely melted all the ice and snow around.
“You filthy traitor,” the black-scaled Dragon spoke out in a deep, ancient voice that enshrouded the entire world around him. “How dare you defend the heathens?!! How dare you attack your own Blood to defend the filthy insects?!!”
“You are no Blood of mine!” the white-scaled Dragon replied in a similar tone. “You are but a maddened beast. The whole lot of you are!”
“Ha ha ha, holler your moral horse for now, Edryss. Unto High Ones I swear you shall not live to see the Birth of the Aspect.”
“Humph, if you dare threaten, do you dare continue?! Or are you going to scream like a human infant that you are?!”
“... just you wait, whore.” the black-scaled Dragon said, though it did not inch forward. “Your day will come soon.”
As its last words faded, it suddenly turned around and left, leaving behind only the sounds of his maniacal laughter. The white-scaled Dragon remained steadfast for a while, ensuring it truly left, before it too turned around and began flying -- toward Lino, Hannah and Seya who were currently trembling. Just as Lino was about to tell Ennya to hide, the latter cried lowly and lifted its front legs over its face. Oh, right. Lino realized, his smile beyond bitter. This is a kid...
“... Ennya?” it didn’t take long for the massive Dragon to spot the four of them as it landed in front of them. Its gaze shifted from Ennya -- who was still hiding its eyes as though that made it invisible -- and the trio on the back.
“Y-yo, all-mighty-Dragon,” feeling Hannah’s and Seya’s arms pushing his back, Lino had no choice but to step forward and greet the creature that bloated the whole sky above as it loomed over them. “W-we... we come in peace...”
“... when has the Empyrean ever come in peace?” the Dragon asked. Lino sighed in relief inwardly; his worry was that the Dragon would simply kill him. So long as there was a conversation, he had confidence to weasel his way through it.
“When he’s so weak Your Holy, Mighty sneeze can kill him?” Lino said, smiling sheepishly; unlike Ennya, however, this one seemed rather impervious to his ass-kissing.
“You should leave,” the Dragon said. “You do not belong here.”
“Does anyone really belong anywhere?” Lino latched onto his opportunity quickly, speaking without hesitation. “Aren’t we all just wanderers searching for a place we can call home?”
“... Human philosophies always astounded me,” the Dragon said as Lino smirked wryly inside. “How can a rather intelligent species spew so much nonsense is well beyond my capacity to understand. In that respect, at least, you have me beat.”
“Oi, oi, what do you mean nonsense?!” to Hannah and Seya’s horror, Lino suddenly growled at the Dragon. “That was one of the smartest things I’ve ever said!”
“... I can believe that.”
“Fuck, I walked right into that one. Khm. Anyway, as I said, we didn’t come here to cause trouble.”
“Of course you did,” the Dragon said. “That is all Empyreans ever did, do, and will do until the end of time. It would be beyond miraculous that you only came to cause slight trouble.”
“... alright, fine, yes, we did come to cause teeny-tiny trouble,” Lino relented in the end, realizing that his ever-effective tongue was not as effective as he had hoped. “But, not with you, of course. No matter how large my balls, I’ve no intention of messing with the Dragons.”
“Your weapon begs to differ.”
“... motherf--it’s unfair, you know?! You seem to know everything about me, but I don’t even know your name!”
“In order to learn Dragon’s name, you first have to earn its respect. The only thing you have earned so far is pittance.” Hannah could barely hold back a snicker; after all, it was a true rarity to see Lino so tongue-tied.
“... yo, dude, what in the fuck did you do to the Dragon Race?!” he grumbled lowly. “I literally can’t even breathe here man.”
“Hm? Expecting Ataxia to admit to a wrongdoing? You may as well claim you created the sky; I’d be quicker to believe the latter.”
“Right?! Right?!” Lino suddenly exclaimed. “This asshole is always so coy!! ‘Uh, no, I didn’t do anything wrong; it’s all about the perspective’ -- perspective my ass! The dude’s outright evil sometimes, but still claims it’s all for the greater good!”
“... you seem to be clever -- as clever as a human can be, at least,” the Dragon spoke after a short silence. “So you should know you have no place here. If you have come to disturb the humans here, I will be the first to bar your path; if you have come to learn about Magic, I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing to learn; if you have come here to hide, you can hide at the edges.”
“Oh my god, throw me a bone here! I’ll do anything! Anything to just gain a sliver of your trust! Just tell me what to do!” Lino cried out in frustration. What was the point of coming here if he was going to be booted out first few days in?
“Go and kill that Dragon.”
“... do you really think I’d still be talking to you if I had the ability to fight you? Or that dude?” Lino’s shoulder sank as he seemingly gave up.
“... I will let you stay,” the Dragon said. “For the time being.”
“You’re not fucking with me, are you?”
“... you’re definitely fucking with me.”
“I am not.”
“... what’s the condition?” Lino questioned.
“You will help me defend the Humans against the invaders.” the Dragon said calmly.
“... w-what invaders?” Lino asked, glancing at the direction where the other Dragon disappeared.
“... this place used to be called the Land of Dragons, a long time ago,” the Dragon, instead of replying, went off in a direction Lino wasn’t expecting. “Four Great Aspects, led by Four Origin Dragons, subsided into dozens of smaller Clans. Eventually, however, time ran out; all Four Origin Dragons withdrew someplace, and without them to exercise control, the rest broke out into a string of wars that nearly led to our extinction. Although the last war officially began nearly two billion years ago... it never exactly ended. All Clans, however large or small, had long since begun looking for external means of growing stronger; mine is no different. I had allied myself with the Humans here, offering them protection in return for their Magic. Others, too, sought their own avenues; some enslaved Mainland Humans, Angels, Gods, even Devils.”
“... so you’re saying... help you fight against everyone else?” Lino asked.
“... right. It was pleasure meeting you.”
“You are leaving?”
“Of course I’m leaving!!” Lino cried out. “Forget just fighting, I came here to escape conflict and hide for a while, and you’re expecting me to expose myself immediately!! What’s even the point?!”
“The invasion is still a few years away,” the Dragon said. “In the meantime, I will help you and the Elysian grow as powerful as possible. I, naturally, do not expect you to fight outside your means; but, if I am to win this war... I will need a miracle. Whatever else can be said about the Empyreans, the most prominent one is that you lot are the Creators of Miracles.”
“We’re in!” Lino suddenly exclaimed.
“Hey!!” Hannah and Seya cried from the back, staggered.
“What? Didn’t you hear? We’re gonna get stronger! And the war is still a few years away.”
“... ah. I forgot you are a battle maniac...” Hannah sighed. “Whatever.”
“Let us return to my dwelling for the time being,” the Dragon said, suddenly flapping its wings. “We have much to discuss...”