Chapter 4: The Penglai Emperor’s Resurrection
Jun bit on his lips.
I absolutely have to defeat this dragon.
His sword with Holy Avenger in hand, he turned his eyes to the flaming dragon that had just landed in the middle of the group of Jiangshi.
The words displayed above the dragon’s head shuffled back and forth between “Phoenix” and “Zakka”. Perhaps because their minds were tangled together, the dragon did not begin fighting. It was only shaking its head around, as if it were confused.
Only one person, Jun, could defeat that beast.
The front line, under Isao and Daikoku’s command, formed from the two’s own forces and held off the Jiangshi’s advances. However, they probably would not be able to maintain the current state of things for long.
Next to Jun’s message window hovered four numerals. At present, they showed 1539. It was most likely the work of Alice. The numbers decreased for every passing second. It was a timer.
Leaving out certain details, Jun quickly briefed Eri and the others. He also told them about how mountain men had appeared to help them out as a natural part of the quest.
“I’m going to rush in. Yukaria, please make a path for me.”
“Understood. I’ll pin down the Jiangshi for you.”
“In that case, I’ll be support on you as always,” Eri added.
The three of them, Jun, Eri, and Yukaria surrounded the dragon along an arc as Isao and Daikoku’s men fiercely fought the Jiangshi.
When ten of the Jiangshi noticed Jun’s advance, they immediately began hopping towards him. They were fast. At this rate, they would catch up to him quickly, but…
“Well then, I suppose I’ll use my sticky white stuff. Burst mode!”
Yukaria, in accordance with Jun’s instructions, fired alternatingly from her two guns at her high-speed targets. The approaching Jiangshi fell prey to her incapacitation techniques.
“Wow, all the Jiangshi are covered in wet stuff…”
“Hey, you’re being indecent again! Jun, does this girl really have no self-restraint?!” Eri sighed. Jun unintentionally let a smile slip.
“Illusionary Brigade, prioritize! Dispatch the Jiangshi advancing towards Jun!”
“Guys, listen to him! Cover for Jun-san!”
Without having arranged anything beforehand, Daikoku and Isao gave identical commands. Their ten front line fighters sliced at the rooted Jiangshi. Among them were even a few Illusionary Brigade members.
“Sorry.” They lowered their heads and left Jun’s side.
“We’ll split up here,” Yukaria stopped moving 100 meters behind the Dragon. “I’ll leave it to you. Go ahead.”
“Sounds like a we’re going in for the kill!”
Yukaria’s job all along was to immobilize the Jiangshi. In order for her to be able to keep them from getting close to Jun, who would fight the dragon, she needed to stay there within range of the others.
“Eri, please buff Yukaria. Then, come follow me.”
“Got it! Don’t you die on me!”
Having separated from Yukaria and Eri, Jun rushed over towards the dragon. His timer read 0749.
Hmm… will I really be able to defeat this guy with just this cheating blade?
“In the first place, why is there even a western dragon here? Wasn’t this island supposed to be based off of China?”
“It seems that the Phoenix transformed into this form because of Zakka’s dream to become stronger.”
Alice’s voice resonated within Jun’s ear, “The Phoenix isn’t anything much at all. Originally, it was just the embodiment of an idea…”
Alice’s voice faded. Jun smacked his lips and ran up to the over ten-meter-long dragon.
The Phoenix-Zakka hybrid dragon finally noticed Jun and opened its mouth widely. Flames crawled out like a tongue…
Immediately afterwards, the flames shot out. The crimson blaze enveloped Jun’s body.
However, even though the temperatures completely charred the surrounding earth, Jun withstood it completely unhurt.
“… That honestly almost gave me a heart attack.”
It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in the power of Holy Avenger, but…
Stroking his chest, Jun leapt out of the flames and slashed at the dragon.
Green blood sprayed all around. Even though his greatsword looked like a toothpick in comparison to the dragon, it was able to tear through its scales as if they were made of soft fabric.
The large dragon bellowed, then staggered. Jun squinted to look at his message window’s battle log and could hardly believe the damage he had done.
“With this… maybe I can do it?”
This feeling in mind, Jun rolled on the ground. The dragon’s limbs swooshed through the air. The colossal claws, about the size of Jun head, gouged a large hole into the ground. The dragon’s wings, flapping back and forth violently, blew away nearby trees. Jun covered his head with his arms and endured the tempestuous gusts.
The winds were so dreadful that they themselves cut Jun’s HP bar down by an entire tenth.
“Hold up! I can’t withstand this kind of damage!”
The Veil Guardian from Altaria Island seemed like a mere filler enemy in the light of this awe-inspiring fighting strength. Holy Avenger really was the only way anybody could endure such power…
“Heals are on the way!” shouted Eri, as Jun’s HP bar filled back up. She also took the opportunity to buff him a few times.
Right. I’m not fighting alone.
Just barely avoiding the dragon’s fierce attacks, Jun smiled. The timer read 0411. Everything would be okay. He still had four minutes.
As soon as he could find an opening, he attacked, dealing more damage. Having carelessly stepped into an area of effect attack, Eri, only barely within range, cast some healing spells on him.
“Please don’t die in one shot! That aside, you’re risking your life, so keep it up and stay alive!” screamed Eri. Though she didn’t know whether her loud voice had riled the dragon up, it seemed like Zakka’s mind was influencing the dragon into seeing Jun as the bitterest of enemies – flaring up its eyes, relentlessly biting at him, and aiming at him with its wings and its claws.
It reminded Jun of a battle between an ant and a beetle.
However, this beetle didn’t quite know how to make the best use of its abilities. It only fought following its instinct. And as for the ant, it had a stinger that could penetrate even the beetle’s mighty shell..”
“You’ve chosen the wrong enemy, Phoenix!” Jun yelled as a taunt.
He smiled boldly as the dragon’s large dumptruck-like head stared him down.
“Or maybe, capturing an adventurer has made you feel cocky? Do you think that you could rule over us? … In the first place, how much of this world do you even know?”
The dragon’s eyes began to dart around, confused.
… I know that this Phoenix monster was originally the quest’s creation. It was supposed to take over the Penglai Emperor’s body, destroy the temple, and fly away into freedom. Becoming free, able to go wherever… but to where? What could the purpose of such an unrivaled event monster be?
That’s how Jun originally thought of it.
If you think about it, couldn’t somebody ride it all the way up to the first island ring? Doesn’t it break the balance to shreds? Is that why Alice came and helped out? To seal it away? Somebody, or something, is going to such lengths to make reaching Aion on the first ring so unattainable…
If that was how it was supposed to be, maybe she wanted Jun to ride it up?
… No, now’s not the time for that.
He calmed down. Time was running low. He had two minutes left.
I’m going to save Kasumi-san!
Swinging his sword, he cut up the dragon’s wings, which stiffened shortly afterwards. Jun continued to slice at the dragon’s body, who anguished in pain.
Thanks to Eri’s buffs, his jumps rapidly lifted him far off the ground. Jumping, he slashed at the dragon’s nose, striking its mouth on his descent before rolling on the burning ground.
The timer still read 0059.
The dragon now only had a little bit of HP remaining.
Panicked, it stepped back.
Vigilant of anything that could happen, it turned its back to Jun, and flapped its wings trying to escape.
“… How unpleasant could you possibly be?”
Jun sighed and jumped onto the dragon’s back.
“Change, lance mode!”
His greatsword changed into a longspear and he plunged it deep beneath the dragon’s scales.
“Special ability, activate! Holy Wings Blast!”
White light poured out from the dragon’s body…
Its large bulk exploded.