Chapter 66 - Girgantia
While Richard was busy recalling the past, another punch came flying towards his face. Smack-smack-smack! A clear, lilting cadence of fist against face ensued.
“Oh, will you stop hitting me! Talk it out, damn it!” He screamed.
In any case, a bearer of Eugendiph’s Blood was thrashing his face without holding back any punches; it would be difficult to endure the force behind it all, even with his strengthened body. Afraid that his head might be knocked off again at this rate, Richard said to Estian, “It’s nothing much! That’s the egg of a phantom beast. There’s no way it’ll wake up unless you, Emperor, touch it!”
It was in that moment where Richard cried out in his defense, dodging Estian’s fists. Screek. It was the sound of something huge being pressed, and at the same time, everyone in the audience room groaned as a terrifying, mountainous pressure fell over them. Richard looked to the side in surprise and saw that while his attention had been elsewhere, the egg which was previously in the empress’ hands was floating in the air, and now space itself was beginning to warp around the egg. Cecile, who had been listening to Richard’s explanation, bewilderedly said, “But it’s woken up?”
Estian too was bewildered.
“Hasn’t it woken up?”
Upon hearing their words, Richard himself remarked in a dazed voice, “…Oh, it woke?”
And that prompted another punch to come flying from Estian.
“No! That’s impossible! Why is it reacting to that woman!”
It made no sense. When Richard heard that Estian was getting married, he had investigated as to what kind of woman the empress-to-be was: an illegitimate child born between the king of a small, minor country and a maidservant. A somewhat pretty woman who was abandoned in a royal villa to be raised by servants. A notable aside was that she was fond of fruits, and this summed up everything about the empress, yet at this moment, that egg was reacting to her touch.
“At the touch of the strongest of all… isn’t that what it said?” Richard murmured and, for the first time, his expression turned rigid. Was the deciphering of the stone slab mistaken? Or was it all deception? Or, if not even that, had that egg gone insane? The only certain thing was that that empress did not look special in the slightest aside from that face of hers. Meanwhile, the egg which had risen into the air made a crunching sound as its shell began to split, and soon after a large wing shot out from a crack.
An appendage longer than a human had protruded from a human head-sized egg, but no one had the mind to point that out. The wing that had shot out of the egg was bizarre in appearance; it was covered not in feathers, but in jagged, scaled, and thick leather which glistened in the light.
Among the people in the audience room, a general who had faced many kinds of monsters in numerous battles cried out in astonishment. Most monsters could not so much as make him twitch a brow, yet the general was trembling as he turned to Estian and implored, “Your Majesty, you must leave. That is a…!”
At that moment, another wing shot out of the egg… but no, this time it was not one wing—it was three wings. Including the first one, there were now four. The mention of wings covered in reptilian skin would make anyone think of wyverns, but those had two wings. According to legend, the only four-winged creature was a…
Perhaps it was responding to the cry of its name; the small egg broke apart completely and what appeared in midair was a gigantic body that threatened to fill half of the spacious audience room. The people in the room all ran to one side, screaming. Some could be heard jumping out the windows, overcome by fear. Estian tossed Richard away from his hand and took Cecile, who was standing still in a daze, into his arms.
‘Damn it. And I thought the worst would be a bout of several spells.’
If he had known this would happen, he would have simply sent Cecile back to the empress’ palace, but it was too late for regrets. For now, he had to have Cecile safely evacuate before dealing with the creature.
Estian steeled his resolve. He was going to kill the dragon, and he was going to cut down Richard too—into tiny little bits. Estian retreated while gnashing his teeth, while on one side, Richard, unaware of the resolve the former had just made, muttered to himself in ecstasy, “Woah, awesome.”
Although it was called the egg of a phantom beast, it was actually a kind of aggregate magic from the branch of summoning. What the egg would give birth to was dependent in proportion to the power of the person who made physical contact. Simply put, it was a completely unknown factor. Richard had brought the egg with the hopes of a man scratching a lottery ticket, wondering as to what Estian’s touch would give birth to, yet somebody else went and scratched that ticket for him and landed first place. He had no idea why things had ended up like this, but in any case, the result was beyond what he anticipated.
‘A dragon. My God, a dragon!’
Dragons were beings that had disappeared from these lands even before the clan of Eugendiph. Meanwhile, the dragon that was born into the world shook its wings. Richard approached the dragon in excitement. Seeing how big it was despite just being born, it would surely grow to the size of at least towering over a mountain when fully mature. As he was measuring its size, Richard realized the most fundamental problem at hand. “But how does one catch a dragon? Aren’t they immune to magic?”
It was then that Richard and the dragon met eyes, and in the instant that the former felt as if the creature was laughing at him…
“Did you just say you’re gonna catch me?”
He heard a voice in his head that reverberated like sound in a cave, and…
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