The Hero Returns

Chapter 159



Chapter 159: Chapter 159


Act 3


<< Is that Yong? >>


Yong, the blue dragon that accompanied Song Hyeong-gi. A growl Su-hyeun had heard a couple of times before from the creature entered his ears and he turned his body toward the source of the noise.


He could now see the azure-blue sky where faint clouds floated lazily by, and, below them, a wide plain dyed a rich green hue. And there was a massive blue dragon lying down on it, with its wings comfortably folded in.


<< It’s really a dragon. >>


The sleeping dragon’s stately aura was truly amazing, even though it was curled up in slumber. Its overall size was about the same as Song Hyeong-gi’s dragon, and it was also the same blue color as well.


<< The highest color in the dragon hierarchy is red, and the lowest is purple, wasn’t it? >>


According to the explanation from the book Malcolm had lent him, the blue dragons were the most common.


[40th floor’s trial will now commence.]


[Save the world of dragons. The dragon before you will guide you.]


“…?”


Since the explanation was way too simple, Su-hyeun decided to silently wait for more. But no further explanation was offered even after some time had passed. The only thing he could rely on now was the dragon before him, contently sleeping away.


<< Things are complicated from the get-go. >>


Su-hyeun frowned as he studied the sleeping dragon. Nothing came across as a clue to him. If one had to be picked out, though, then it might be related to where exactly he was at the moment.


<< The world of dragons, is it…. >>


Well, he could somehow tell that by looking at this dragon slumbering away without a care on this wide-open field.


In this world, the existence of dragons wouldn’t be seen as something special. More than likely, a human such as him would be treated as an even more rare existence here.


<< But, what am I supposed to ‘save’ in this place? >>


The world seemed rather peaceful to him. Almost as if there wasn’t really a need to save anything.


<< Maybe there’s some kind of a defect somewhere? >>


When that thought popped up in his mind, Su-hyeun shook his head. That was something he’d discover gradually in the future. If the system’s message was to be believed, then the dragon before his eyes would do the job of guiding him.


“Hey, Miru.”


Riiip-


Su-hyeun called out, and, immediately, Miru tore through space and emerged outside. The dragon had grown larger than him at this point. Laughing happily, it bounced around everywhere, brimming with energy.


Gurung, gurururung-


Miru was still like a little kid despite its larger bulk.


In the midst of its bouncing about, it discovered another dragon and its eyes opened much wider.


“It looks like you can stay outside in this place.”


Su-hyeun couldn’t let Miru outside often, afraid that the larger physique of his red dragon might inconvenience other people, or get mistaken for a monster.


But this was the world of dragons, so Miru being outside shouldn’t pose any problems, whatsoever. No, being outside, even if it was deliberately so, might be for the best, actually.


<< I might be able to get more clues about Miru this way. Even if it’s just one more, it’s worth it. >>


Su-hyeun’s interest in all things related to Miru was quite big, to say the least. Even someone like Song Hyeong-gi, who hoovered up whatever little morsels of information related to divine beasts he could, had no idea what kind of an existence Miru was, after all.


Honestly, there was a chance that even the other dragons wouldn’t know much about Miru’s identity. The blue dragon accompanying Song Hyeong-gi didn’t know anything either, despite instinctively lowering its head towards Miru.


“I wonder if I can communicate with them, though….”


Su-hyeun began walking toward the sleeping blue dragon.


From what Song Hyeong-gi had said, a dragon’s slumber could last for a few years at the longest. He felt a little apologetic about waking it up, but that didn’t mean he was willing to give up on his trial and wait here forever.


“Excuse me. May I speak to you for a moment?” Su-hyeun called out to the blue dragon. The creature wiggled a little, but buried its head even deeper and snored loudly away once more.


“Hmm….”


In the end, Su-hyeun stomped on the ground.


RUMBLE-


Krr-ruk-?


The impact resonating on the ground woke the dragon up. It must’ve been in a really deep sleep.


“I’d like to speak to you.”


Kurung, krrrr….


The dragon discovered Su-hyeun’s presence and mumbled something as it rubbed its drowsy eyes.


-What is a human doing here?


A baritone voice could be heard. But rather than entering his ears, it was transmitted directly into his brain.


Su-hyeun was greatly relieved to know that he could communicate without issue and said to the dragon, “You seem to know the language of man quite well.”


-I mastered the translation magic perfectly by the time I was one hundred years old. Even if you weren’t human, but some barbaric race without a developed language, I still won’t have a problem understanding you.


“That’s great to hear.”


-Answer my question. What is a human doing in this place?


“That’s….”


Su-hyeun hesitated, not knowing how to answer that.


<< Forget about not believing me, would this guy gets p*ssed off instead if I said I came to save this world? >>


Dragons naturally thought of themselves as a superior species than human beings. According to the book Malcolm lent him, it was dragons who taught humanity magic, as well as many other enlightenments and even civilization itself.


That was why dragons always thought that they were being merciful toward humanity, but never believed the latter could help them out.


<< Should I say I’m lost….? >>


It was then…


The blue dragon finally spotted Miru, and shot up from its half-curled up position.


-A red dragon??


Gya-ong, gya-rururu…


Miru must’ve gotten scared by that, because it hurriedly hid behind Su-hyeun.


<< Is it that scary? >>


Su-hyeun looked at Miru hiding behind him before shifting his gaze back to the blue dragon. For sure, this guy was on another level compared to Song Hyeong-gi’s dragon, even if their sizes were roughly the same.


Unlike that man’s dragon, which was only a few years old, this blue dragon emitted the feeling of vast, indescribable history.


<< Just how old is this guy? >>


The strength of dragons was divided into two categories.


First, by color.


Second, by their age.


Considering that, this blue dragon before him might not be of a higher rank than Song Hyeong-gi’s dragon, but it would easily best the latter simply through the sheer number of years it had lived so far.


-That red dragon, is it with you?


Su-hyeun replied to the blue dragon’s question, “Yes. We’ve been together for about two years.”


-But, why…? With a human…?


“Do you know something about Miru… no, wait, this red dragon?”


-….


There was no immediate reply. That was enough for Su-hyeun to become sure of it, though.


<< Bingo. >>


He could tell instinctively—this reaction, this silence—didn’t come from not knowing anything. So, Su-hyeun became quite confident that he’d learn more about Miru’s identity from this dragon.


-Where did you meet that red dragon?


Rather than replying with ‘as a reward for my trial’, Su-hyeun came up with a suitable-sounding answer, instead. “It hatched from an egg I came across coincidentally.”


-From an egg, you say?


“Yes.”


-…Is that so.


The blue dragon’s expression turned cloudy as it thought deeply.


Even though the creature learned this for the first time, it nodded its head as if it had expected as much. Su-hyeun addressed the dragon again, “Just what kind of an existence is the red dragon? And….”


He hesitated slightly before continuing on cautiously.


“What is the current situation of this world?”


The blue dragon slowly alternated its gaze between Su-hyeun and Miru.


-Why don’t we talk while on our way?


“Excuse me?”


The blue dragon turned around, and its long tail came down to rest on the ground. It was obviously telling him to climb up on its back.


Su-hyeun hesitated again slightly, before climbing up while consoling the still-scared Miru. Whatever the cause might have been, this blue dragon was supposed to guide him anyway, according to the system message.


-I’m setting off.


Flap-


The blue dragon’s large wings unfurled. The creature kicked the ground and shot into the sky quickly, then began telling its tale.


-Red dragons are, in a way, symbols.


Finally, the mystery around Miru began to unravel. Su-hyeun listened closely in great anticipation.


-Red is the symbolic color that signifies the direct lineage of the lord of all dragons, the dragon king.


“The dragon king….?”


That must’ve been their way to denote a royalty. The idea of lineage seemed to also exist within dragon-kind, and body-color was how that lineage could be differentiated.


And the color red ranked the highest, symbolizing the direct descendants of the dragon king.


Gya-rrng-?


But Miru, born with such a noble bloodline, was tilted its head this way and that in confusion, as if to ask, what are you even talking about?


Su-hyeun could only sigh softly at that utterly-unconcerned attitude and continue with his questioning, “In that case, where can I find Miru’s family? And what exactly is happening to this world?”


The blue dragon hesitated and didn’t say anything for a little while, before finally replying in a quiet voice.


-No more… direct descendants of the dragon king survives.


“Excuse me?”


-It’s like I said. They’re all dead. Some dragons say they ran away, but, whatever the case might be, the only red dragon currently remaining is most likely this little child over here.


That was an unexpected discovery. Su-hyeun was thinking that he might get to meet other red dragons, who should be slightly larger than Miru, but now, none of them were alive?


“How can that even be….?”


-There was a war.


“What war are you talking about?”


-I can’t describe it well. Seeing it with your own eyes will be better.


Fwoooosh-


Thick bluish clouds suddenly enveloped Su-hyeun. He didn’t fight against it and patiently observed the unfolding development. Not too long afterward, the view in front of his eyes transformed. Even his sitting figure felt weightless, as if he was soaring through the air.


Ruuuuumble-


Boom, ka-boooom-!


Kiiii-aaaaah-!


Explosions and screams—accompanied by a pitch-black sky above. Su-hyeun’s eyes narrowed as his vision caught these new sights.


‘An illusion?’


Su-hyeun was currently floating in the air—while still in the same seated posture.


He knew that this was all an illusion, but, after looking at the details on display, he began thinking this had to be a recreation of something that happened in the past.


<< Is this the war the blue dragon was talking about? >>


He saw the corpses of dragons in the distance.


The corpses were intermingled with the remains of other monsters, littering the ground, utterly soaked in blood shed by the dragons.


<< Wait, isn’t that…. >>


It was then that Su-hyeun’s eyes caught the sight of a rather familiar monster.


Kiiii-aaaah-!


A gigantic turtle revealed itself in a lake in the distance.


<< The Titan Turtle. >>


From its massive physique, occupying at least half of the lake, plus its shell that boasted unrivaled defensive capability—Su-hyeun was well acquainted with that creature.


<< What’s a creature only found inside navy-colored dungeons doing in here….? >>


When he took a closer look, though, it wasn’t the only powerful monster he recognized.


Most of the demonic beasts waging war against the dragons throughout the battlefield were quite similar to the monsters he knew.


Among them were some weak creatures whose appearances he recognized despite their names escaping him, as well as an occasional gigantic monster like the Titan Turtle.


Currently, the Titan Turtle was engaged in a battle against a group of orange-colored dragons. Those dragons were so massive that they didn’t lose out to the turtle-shaped monster in sheer size.


The sight of five orange-colored dragons engaged in a fierce battle against the Titan Turtle was a spectacle of the highest caliber.


<< I’m sure of it now. >>


Su-hyeun knew what this war was, the one shown in the blue dragon’s illusion.


<< This is…. the one that I also know. >>


The black sky, and the sudden invasion of monsters.


The dungeon outbreak that couldn’t be stopped anymore.


Thud, boom, boom-


He sensed a massive presence. His head quickly swiveled in that direction.


The presence of one singular creature felt the largest within the world created inside the illusion. Which implied that the one responsible for the illusion was most conscious of this creature than anything else.


And Su-hyeun didn’t need to see it to know just what that thing was.


<< It’s coming. >>


The boss of all these demonic beasts, slowly striding toward his location.


A giant with the head of a dragon.


<< Fafnir. >>


The moment he saw the creature, thick, heavy killing intent began oozing out from Su-hyeun’s body.



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