CHAPTER 29 - Power Creep (5)
The figure before him shifted, and Alex realized that it was overcoming the magic he had poured all of ALICE’s stored mana into at an alarming rate.
He wasn’t going to be able to run away before this thing broke through and got free.
Seems he had gone all-in on his bluff without realizing it. He steeled himself and forced his crooked grin to spread across his face in an effort to appear far more confident than he felt.
“That’s right. I’m Null element. But I’m a bit of an oddball. I can actually use all of the elements through my specific version of Null.”
The dragon was slowly getting its feet beneath the massive body. The dark aura was vanishing faster than before, and the great wings began to unfurl once again. As the dragon began to stretch out once more, Alex realized just how massive this creature was.
“Your appearance… You are a demon, then?”
Alex heard shuffling behind him but didn’t dare to look away from the one speaking to him now. He shook his head as he replied, keeping himself calm in a manner similar to when he was looking through the scope.
“No, I’m definitely human. Got a mom, dad, whole nine yards.”
He wasn’t disturbed by the question itself. ‘Demons’ were the common nickname given by the media to the successful MAGES candidates. He couldn’t say he disagreed with it, given what the program did to his appearance. Still, that wasn’t to say that he liked the other connotations.
“… I see. And you believe demons not to have parents?”
As Alex started to ponder the question to answer, Celia stepped forward and bowed deeply.
“Great dragon, as the second princess of Raistra, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of my comrades for the trouble we have caused you. The man before you is not from our world and is ignorant of our ways.”
“And just what ways would those be? The ones where you measly humans serve as little other than food for my kin and me? Or perhaps you refer to the ‘ways’ that it should take dozens, if not hundreds, of you to bring one of my power to their knees like this?”
Celia looked up, and terror filled her eyes. For the first time, Alex saw that arrogant princess at a loss for words. More and more, the gravity of the situation sunk into his head. He wouldn’t let himself be cowed, though. He fought wars and survived countless battles. He drew on the confidence of those memories and addressed the dragon once more.
“All of those, actually. If I had known you were supposed to be so hard to defeat, I’d have pretended to be weaker. If you want, we can go again, and this time I’ll promise to follow your expectations. At first, at least.”
As the last of his magic disappeared and the dragon was entirely freed, it turned to face him. The long neck craned down, and the head that was larger than his entire body came within a few meters of his face. Golden eyes, the size of serving trays, looked at him without any traceable emotion behind them.
‘Welp, it was nice knowing you. It’s been a good run, Fenrir.’
Alex didn’t bother with a response as he stared back into those glittering orbs. His muscles tensed, ready to move if the thing decided to attack.
“No. You have more than proven your worth, human from another world.”
‘Wait, what?’ Alex blinked.
“While unheard of, the traditions of my kin should still be honored. As such…”
The dragon’s body began to emit a pale white light, and what looked like smoke started to rise from its scales.
Alex recalled several of his mangas, and he began to panic. How had he not seen this coming?
The white light grew brighter, and the dragon’s body began to shrink.
A new voice emerged as the body continued to shrink, decidedly feminine and mature.
“Given the decline of my race, I suppose I cannot afford to be picky. You shall do.”
‘No. No. No. NO. NO. NO!’
The wings disappeared into the dragon’s back, and it started to rise onto its back legs as ALICE’s voice joined his own thoughts.
‘Oh, you have GOT to be shitting me! Alex, are you shitting me? Is she shitting me?’
Alex watched as the figure, cloaked in light, took on a humanoid appearance and continued to shrink. He finally found his voice, and an almost frightened tone accompanied his words.
“No, this is not necessary. I was just trying to protect my friends. You can afford to be picky. I promise!”
“Nonsense! The traditions have been honored for countless millennia. They shall continue this day.”
“No, for real, I mean it! Just go on your merry way, and we can pretend all of this never happened!”
The light began to fade, and Alex considered turning tail and running away more than he had when he thought this being was going to kill him. He looked at the strikingly beautiful woman before him, the only traces of her previous form being the majestic looking horns curling up from the sides of her head where her ears should have been. Black hair pulled to one side draped over her shoulder, cascading down over a simple white sundress that would have fit in even back home on Earth.
“I will not sully the name of the dragon race with such a farce.”
Those golden-hued eyes stared at Alex for a few brief seconds before closing as the dragon-turned-woman bowed even deeper than Celia had seconds before.
‘Please don’t say it. Please, please, pretty please don’t.’
‘I swear to all that is programmable, I will cut a bitch!’
“This great one, Aundell Vidi’Dimael, greets her new husband.”