Episode 170

Demodras (2)
1 week ago
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The sacred light went out.

The boiling heat in his head cooled down, and the fervor to continue the fight subsided. The blessing granted had ceased.

Shiron felt reason filling his head, replacing the impulse that had muddled his thoughts.

At the same time…

He thought the dragon in front of him was lying.

“Where do you think you’re spouting nonsense?”

“…Nonsense?”

“Stop talking rubbish.”

“It seems you don’t believe me.”

“Isn’t it obvious? It’s not like a heart is something you can just detach and hand over to someone else…”

Shiron grimaced and exhaled a white breath. It seems he doesn’t believe it. Demodras sensed a mix of doubt and anger from him.

But the conversation might still be salvageable.

The mad human did not swing his sword this time; instead of taking a stance to swing his weapon, he simply glared at Demodras.

“I promise you, on my honor, that I am not lying about giving you my heart.”

The dragon, not wanting any unnecessary sacrifices, opened its maw as it felt its wounds slowly healing.

“…Are you choosing an honorable death over being killed by someone else?”

“That’s not it either. I said I would give you my heart because I desperately want to live.”

“I don’t understand…”

To give someone your heart, you would have to remove it.

Wouldn’t you normally die if you remove your heart? But to live, the dragon was going to remove its heart? Shiron frowned, unable to comprehend the absurdity.

“There’s no need for you to understand. If you meet the conditions fully, I will gladly remove my heart and give it to you.”

Having confirmed his wounds were fully healed, Demodras recited the polymorph spell again. This time, however, he did not recite the phase shift.

The phase shift was a magic used to distance oneself for magical combat. It was unnecessary for a peaceful conversation now.

A black shadow slowly rose from the ground. Red eyes closed, and a massive body was entirely swallowed.

And then…

An astonishing phenomenon occurred. The vast darkness dispersed like fog, revealing a face Shiron recognized.

A muscular giant, devoid of any clothing.

A person who had no business being here.

“…Uncle?”

Shiron gazed at Demodras, now bearing the appearance of Hugo, with eyes wide in surprise.

“Is this man your uncle?”

Demodras examined his body and smiled, pleased. His voice was an exact match too. If not for being in the nest of the Fervent Dragon, Shiron himself might have been fooled by the high level of imitation.

“What are you doing?”

“I read your mind and transformed into the figure of the person you trust the most. It would be problematic if you attacked me suddenly, as before. But… why is it not someone you like but someone you dislike?”

Demodras looked puzzled as he observed Shiron’s face twist in discomfort. Shiron covered Latera’s eyes with his hand and sighed.

“…Do you really not understand?”

“I do not. What is the issue? This person is someone you trust the most.”

“That thing… what is it? Don’t you have another form? It’s true he’s a person I trust, but it’s quite burdensome to face him in the nude.”

Shiron could have offered his coat or something to Demodras, but he was unwilling to make such a sacrifice.

Just the thought of the constantly swaying object touching the clothes he wore made him shudder, feeling goosebumps not just on his forearms but all over his body.

“Such a difficult human.”

“It’s not me being difficult.”

“No, you are difficult. I have used this method for a long time, and it has never been a problem. Not just with humans but with angels and demons too…”

“Alright, alright. Just change your form quickly. There’s even a child here.”

“The hero, a child?”

“Who else here could be considered a child? Obviously, it’s you.”

“Me, I am 500 years old?!”

“Sorry, but even if you’ve been a NEET for 30 years in your room, nobody’s going to treat you like an adult.”

“…”

Truly a difficult human, Demodras sighed and recited the spell again.

The most trusted human’s appearance showed a negative reaction, so he must transform into another human’s appearance… but no suitable form came to mind.

To the dragon, humans were such beings. They possessed weak mana and insignificant bodies. Their lives flowed like water, disappearing the moment one perceived a connection.

Of course, there was the memorable human named Kyrie, but regrettably, Demodras could not remember what a human from 500 years ago looked like.

It wasn’t a problem with memory. Can one depict the air one breathes and the wind that passes by on a canvas?

“How about this?”

Thus, Demodras read Shiron’s mental image once more.

“This is the second human you trust the most.”

“…”

“It seems I’ve passed. Your mental image is bursting with strong affirmation.”

Demodras put his hands on his hips and smiled with satisfaction.

-Hyeon-jun.

-Idiot. Look at this.

Once again, the resemblance was striking. It was so similar that it even caused auditory hallucinations. Slap- Shiron slapped his face to snap out of it, yet he still felt the heat of embarrassment on his face.

Shiron took off his coat and offered it to her.

“Wear this.”

“I will wear it well.”

It wasn’t just a success; it was a monumental success. Demodras, feeling proud, accepted the coat.

The fluffy fur wrapped around the white, naked body, with black hair and sharp eyes peeking out from above.

“So, you’re giving your heart to live?”

“…It’s not just given away. I’ve clearly stated there are conditions. But it wouldn’t be bad to satisfy your curiosity first.”

Demodras chuckled, watching Shiron’s emotions churn. Many humans had come to this place before, but none had shown such violent turmoil, making him think of it as a form of amusement.

‘…Was there one?’

500 years ago.

The news of the passing of the god she followed. It was when Demodras, harboring a sense of emptiness, was making a nest for a long rest.

It wasn’t a human, but an angel emitting a brilliant light amidst violent turmoil.

-“You are destined to die in 500 years!”

-“Destined to die? I plan to live quietly from now on. I’m tired of further chaos. Does this mean someone with a grudge against me will come while I’m asleep?”

-“Not exactly… but you will die! If you want, I can swear it! So, please listen to me!”

The angel swore in a bizarre manner, unheard of before. It was a long time ago, but perhaps because it was related to death, Demodras remembered it vividly.

-“About 500 years from now… a man with strong pride, annoyingly fussy, will come. Just in case, don’t forget to check if he’s the one I mentioned. There’s a possibility.”

-“Aren’t you an emissary of the god? Why would you do such a cumbersome thing?”

-“Because of me, that guy might end up in a dangerous situation…”

-“Is that also a prophecy?”

-“I don’t know! This is where the story ends. You’re making me cry for no reason!”

The situation was somewhat similar. Then, after polymorphing, they had a conversation, and the angel harbored feelings of embarrassment and sexual desire upon seeing the transformed Demodras.

“In the distant past, a messenger of god came down and made a prophecy.”

Demodras chuckled and cleared his throat.

“That angel said if you don’t want to die, give your heart willingly to the one who comes here. It’s the only way to avoid a fated death.”

“…How can giving away your heart avoid death?”

“It’s a little-known fact. Dragons have two hearts. So, it’s alright to give one away.”

“?”

Shiron looked down at Latera, puzzled, and Latera, just as confused, shrugged his shoulders.

“…Is that true?”

“Well? I wouldn’t know? I was just sitting in a corner and just breathing all day?”

“Of course, it’s not the heart you humans know of.”

Demodras straightened the chaotic atmosphere and conjured a ball of light in mid-air.

“One circulates and generates mana, while the other pumps blood throughout the body, akin to that of mortals.”

“Is it similar to a core?”

“It’s not something as trivial as a core. Unlike a stream and a river, a dragon’s heart is a unique organ, incomparable to anything else.”

“…”

“Well, I won’t be able to use magic afterward.”

Demodras chuckled, preparing to remove his heart.

The man standing before him was indeed the prophesied man from 500 years ago. The humans who had come here were either worshippers or had gone mad with fear, but this man matched the description of the angel from his memories.

Not only did he have an angel (albeit a half-grown one) by his side, but he also possessed a holy sword, leading Demodras to deem him worthy of receiving the Fervent Dragon’s heart.

However…

An unexpected interruption occurred.

“Wait.”
“…What is it?”

It was when he was opening the front of his coat and forming a blade from the sticky darkness that Shiron’s hand shot out as if to stop him.

“…If you can’t use magic anymore, does that mean this form will be undone?”

“Yes. This size is appropriately reduced for the occasion, but if I can’t use magic, this form will also be undone and I will revert.”

“I have a request.”

Shiron spoke earnestly, and Demodras, dispersing the darkness from his hand, looked intrigued.

“A request? Quite the greedy hero. I’m even offering my heart.”

“It’s not a difficult request.”

“What is it?”

Demodras tilted his head, half-closing his eyes. Despite the whirlwind of confusion in his heart, he stated it wasn’t a difficult request.

If it were something time-consuming or hard, he would reject it outright. The possibility of an unknown death prevented Demodras from falling into a deep sleep, and his patience, already thin from insomnia, was not great.

Fortunately, the worries were unfounded.

After moving his lips several times, Shiron finally voiced his request.

“Just hug me once.”

“…Indeed, it’s not a difficult request.”

Demodras could have refused, but instead, he spread his arms and smiled. The emotions the human had been showing were so painfully earnest and desperate… Watching it was pitiful.

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