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A_3010 : The World, Two Years Later.

Drafted By: Yoko Taro

Written By: Natori Sawako

Fan-Translated By: Barnabism#5350

I have met a red dragon only once.

I had met it by chance, while pushing my way deep through a forest in chase of a rabbit.

The red dragon had a human companion. When I saw the man with shining dark hair, I was quick to realise that this man was none other than the “Legendary Captain of the Knights” — A dark-haired knight captain who had survived up in the snowy mountains by drinking the blood of a dragon. It is said that two years ago, in the decisive battle with the Empire, that it was through his partnership with the red dragon that he had acquired the help of many other dragons to destroy the Empire led by the Cult of the Watchers. The heroic tale, the victory of the Union that was called the “Miracle of the Great Plains”, was always told to people like me who had never been on the battlefield.

I shook in embarrassment as the dark-haired man’s gaze had settled on my rather messy clothes, and I told him I was taking care of a dragon kept in the grounds by myself.

‘Care? Does a dragon need a human’s care?’

The dragon gave me a sharp glare, and I flinched in fear.

The humans did not let the dragons that followed in the Union’s side during that war just “take their leave”. When the war was over, powerful and influential people had begun coming into contact with the dragons, took advantage of the dignity of their species with their own righteousness, and enslaved them. The dragons were made into “Tools” for the sake of expanding their own power.

Yes… Tools. Now, dragons are no longer even treated as creatures. Subject to human desire, they were forced to be used as tools for farming and construction, pushed into freak shows, sold off as items to be traded, and often were driven into war as a powerful force that surpassed even canons. The unsuspecting dragons willingly swallowed the human’s words and gave themselves out, saying, “I want to help humanity.”

Because of the dragons retaining their same sense of strength and vitality, their treatment only gets worse and worse by the day.

“Humans should respect and value dragons more, coexist as good partners and equal companions… As you both do!”

When the words  of what I had always felt left my mouth, the dark-haired man let out a breath. Just now, did he sneer? …Goodness.

The dark-haired man, no longer looking at me, adjusts himself on the back of the red dragon. It waited for him to settle down, turned its face to the sky, and spread its wings. The trees of the branches shake, the grass is swept away, and the man and the red dragon fly away. Seeing the red dragon’s powerful flying form, the bent back, the gentle swing of its long tail, I am reminded…

I am reminded of the nobility and majesty of the creatures called dragons. The words uttered by the red dragon as they left clung to my ears like an ominous prophecy.

‘To use dragons for menial labour… Foolish human beings.’


In the least sunny part of the grounds was the dragon’s keep. Though it was supposed to be a building, it was really just a shack with a straw roof set over pillars with walls made from scrap wood. The only thing I could give it credit for was it’s high ceiling and the spacious room.

A strong stench like thousands of rotten fish tails was constantly leaking from the dragon’s keep.

I stop to cough a bit and push the wheelbarrow of hay to feed the dragon. The tears flow by themselves, the body odour and smell of filth from the filthy dragons near weaponous. The job of a dragon caretaker was said to be the hardest labour in the world, hence why even a lower-class person like me could get a job.

I couldn’t say it to the red dragon, but the treatment from the Union’s rising lords to the dragons was many times worse than what I had said. As per the saying, “Dragons are disposable”, they are forced into hard labour all day and night. And if they happen to get sick from that? They’re sold to an organisation. And using the money you obtain from that, you can get a lively dragon again. The supply of water and food was limited to just one time a day, and it was considered that leftovers for the other livestock was sufficient.

As soon as I passed through the doorless dragon’s keep, flies immediately swarmed around my face. A large amount of maggots were found gushing forth from the dragon’s filth and vomit that had been scattered everywhere. Swallowing back the nausea, I silently push the hay into the food tray.

The dragons that were “Owned” by the Lord of the estate were squeezed into cages lined up into the keep. In a cramped cage where they are unable to stand straight, their freedom is deprived by iron bars, maggots flood your wounds and flies crawl through every orifice, there you didn’t know if you were dead or alive. And even so, the dragons did not show any sign of dissatisfaction, and whether they were starved or uncomfortable, they never cried out… Let alone roar. The light in their eyes was dull, but there was always a shine of light when they followed the figure of a human.  That faint light was nothing but proof of the dragon’s hope and trust they placed in humans.

When I came to the innermost cage in the dragon’s keep, the first thing I heard was a weak cry — It was a baby dragon the lord had just gotten. Dragons become adults quickly, yet they lived long, so younger dragons were quite valuable. The lord had told his guests at his dinner party that it had cost him four adult dragons who had overworked, perhaps as a way to show his power in the light that it wouldn’t bother or be too hard a hit on him for letting go of four dragons.

“Hey there…. Here’s your food. Hungry?”

The food tray, full of the soft hay in advance, was brought closer to the mouth of the baby dragon.

“I had tried to catch a rabbit, but you should know it’s quite difficult…”

The baby dragon’s eyes held my reflection. The look is ferocious, a particular trait of the dragonic species, yet I feel innocence in how it tilts its neck. While it was like other dragons in how it’s grey scales smelled and were covered in faeces, those same scales were neatly shaped and rather transparent.

It cleared out the food tray in the blink of an eye, and began to hurt within a couple of minutes — Suddenly it began to go back and forth in front of me, making a pitifully high-pitched cry, and looked up towards the ceiling as if bending back. It’s white underbelly heaved, and it continued the unsettling squeak, squeak, squeak in the back of it’s throat. At once, the hay I had just given it flowed back at once. The amount and force was tremendous, the hay mixed in with gastric fluids immediately overflowing from the cage.

Soaking up to my knees in the terrible bile, I click my tongue. And, perhaps sensitive to the change in my emotions, the baby dragon shed tears from both eyes and lowered it’s head.

‘You are giving it too much hay. It cannot be digested by the stomach of a dragon.’

I looked over, surprised to see what had delivered those thoughts close to a voice. In the cage next to the baby dragon, a black dragon was crouching on top of a cold nest. This black dragon, which always keeps its eyes closed and remains still as a statue, led a horde of dragons in the decisive battle two years ago. The lord of the house had always bragged about it, but I had never seen the black dragon helping or engaging with other dragons in the keep. In my eyes, it was only one of the broken dragons.

But now, both the stern dragon’s eyes were shining brightly… And it was certainly talking to me.

‘Be that as it may, it is true that you have increased your efforts. I will apologise to the young dragon on your behalf.’

“A-Ah…”

As I nodded, the black dragon let out a slow breath and closed its eyes.

Even as I tried to get my voice to utter something in response, the dragon stayed unmoving.

It seemed as if the black dragon had seen through the prejudice, and it felt a bit awkward. Now that it was feeling rather difficult to stay inside the dragon’s keep, I decided to take out the baby dragon to wash it’s dirty body of the filth and vomit.

It was so dirty that the pond had been dyed brown, but after a few hours, the grey scales had been polished one by one till they gave off a smoky look, and it stood in front of me in a proud manner. The odour had disappeared, and it’s expression was clear.

“How lovely!”

The baby dragon was too busy to hear my simple comment of admiration, distracted by the butterflies fluttering around its nose, tilting  its head and shaking its body to scatter the excess water droplets. I yelped at the feeling of the cold water hitting up against me, and the dragon chirped in a similar high-pitched voice… As if it were imitating me. Unable to help but laugh, the baby dragon happily swung its tail and splashed in the water from the pond.


In the end, it seemed that washing the baby dragon’s body wasn’t for nothing… After that, the lord of the house told me to keep the dragon clean, as he was going to be having a feast.

This… “Banquet” of his, I knew, was nothing but an excuse for him to show off his leverage and power.

… When I arrived at the courtyard of the lord’s residence alongside the young dragon, I was met with many guests sitting around a long, U-shaped table. On the table a dish was being arranged that had not yet been cooked.

Following the instructions of the lord, I raised the baby dragon on the stage that was in the middle of the U-shaped table. In such a rugged courtyard made from reddened clay and rocks, the vermillion stage that had been adorned with golden, leaf-shaped pillars looked quite out of place.

“Hurry and tie the dragon to the chain. Don’t forget the muzzle,” The lord ordered curtly.

As usual, he had a longsword adorned to his waist — It seemed to me like the longsword he had been using since his days as a soldier. Even after becoming a powerful lord far from the field of battle, he still carried his sword with him, though it just seemed like he did so to strike his servants with the pommel whenever he was in a bad-tempered mood.

Just so I don’t risk getting him upset and striking me like that, I’ll do as he says. While it was easy enough to hammer in the iron restraints to the sides of the stage, the muzzle seemed to frighten the baby dragon a bit, being the first tool it saw. It shook its head around in a refusing manner, crying out in a high-pitched voice.

“Attendant!”

Hearing the lord shout from beneath the stage, I carried the heavy muzzle over, twisted over the neck of the dragon, and pleaded in a desperate whisper.

“Hey! Be quiet, or I’ll get upset at you!”

Perhaps under the thought it shouldn’t try shaking me off it’s neck, it stopped moving and gave a small chirp in reply.

“Good job….” I put on the muzzle.

It seemed the iron muzzle was too big for a baby dragon, as every time it moved its face, the scales made a gritty and unpleasant sound. Though I felt sorry for the poor young dragon, I stepped away from it’s back.

It was then that the lord had handed me a claw-shaped sword from under the stage, turned to the guests and began to address them with a smile.

“I would like to thank you for joining me today. For those with a discerning tongue, I have prepared an exceptional delicacy.”

Hearing his words, the guests stood and cheered.

“That… What on earth…. Am I….?”

He twisted his beard as he sized up both me, who was holding the sword with unfamiliarity, and the young dragon, who was waving its tail  in the centre of the stage. The eyes that harbour a cold light grow narrower, and his voice becomes louder.

“What’s this? It seems as if the servant doesn’t know. It is a delicacy that those with fine tastes have been wishing for, a fritter made from the fried brains of a dragon.”

His line of sight is focused on the young dragon.

I staggered. The sword in my hands suddenly felt much heavier.

“Eating a dragon’s brains….? Such… A horrid thing…”

The lord lowered his voice so only I could hear it.

“What are you giving me that eye for? Fritters are heat-treated, so there is no need to worry about getting infected with toxins. Do not be like that man who drank the blood of a dragon in search of power.”

“.......... Is this why you bought the baby dragon?”

“Naturally. Is there any other reason to bother storing the dragon?”

After those words, the man smiled at the guests with a friendly laugh.

“Come, see here! The dismemberment of the dragon will soon begin!”

“I cannot do such a thing….”

I stand on the stage and beg for forgiveness, tears beginning to flow down my face. The lord’s whispers to me, his lips pressing up against my ear.

“If you don’t do this, I am cutting your job as a caretaker off here. Pack your luggage out now and get off of my land. How much is something like that worth compared to you? A job like this is a dime in a dozen!”

How much is something like that worth compared to you? Those words hunted me down.

Both my parents had passed away from illness, and I went with my sister, who had become a plaything for the soldiers. At just nine years old, I had been alone for seven years. I did whatever I could to live. When I was asked to lick clean the shoes of the rich, I licked them. When the soldiers told me to push out my hips, I pushed them out. I did the work I did as a caretaker for the current dragon while being pushed away, trampled on, and was treated like less of an insect out of nothing but sheer desperation. I had no prominent appearance, no talent, no wealth, and no education. But, there were people I could use to work for instead. So if I wanted to live, I knew I had to work with my body  until I vomited blood. I felt it was an evil way of life, spending each day fearing joblessness more than getting killed. Either way, the destination was all the same — “Death”.

I reaffirmed my grasp on the uncomfortable-feeling sword and slowly stood back up. The guests sitting around the long table stirred and talked around the empty plate; the unsightly flesh dangled down, and only the eyes still shone brightly. No longer did they try to hide their excitement of being witness to the brutal acts that were about to begin, everyone starting to jeer and call out without reservation.

These were human beings.

I clench my teeth. I see the baby dragon looking at me through clouded vision, it’s expression unchanging. The dragonic species is one that does not psychically show a change in expression, but if you took care of them for a long enough time, they would transmit their emotions to you. I knew that.

The baby dragon was asking me what we were going to play.

It tries desperately to open its mouth while being kept back by the stiff muzzle. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to make it laugh. Trying not to throw away the sword, I stare ahead with clear eyes, and tilt the dragon’s small neck back as usual. I devoted everything I could into my role as a caretaker, and was left with the small young dragon that was completely relaxed.

“Ahhh…. I’m sorry….”

Trembling hands clench tighter onto the sword.

A grudge began to grow against the lord and his guests. I hated them, I hated those monsters who never got their hands dirty, the monsters that would take the life of a baby dragon out of sheer boredom.

But, I didn’t have a choice.

I turned towards the dragon, and without wasting any time, brandished the sword and broke through in one go.

“Uaaaagghh!”

The sword is swung, making a dull sound and sticking into the neck of the dragon. Fresh blood sprayed fiercely into my eyes.

“Hhhhigh…! Hihhhgh…!”

I didn’t know if the screams that echoed through the courtyard were my own or the dragon’s. I closed my eyes and tried to pull out the sword, but the tip of the hook seemed to dig into its bones, and didn’t seem to budge.

“Ah-!? I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”

I wanted to get it over with as quickly and comfortably as possible, but it seemed I had moved my sword a bit too blindly. When I finally wiped the blood from my eyes, I saw the sword buried deeply into the young dragon’s neck. But even so, it was still alive, bleeding in agony.

The dragon’s scales broke with each pained writhe of its body, making a gritty noise, and the sword dug deeper and deeper into its flesh. The overflowing blood began to form a pool on the stage.

The smell of rotted fish spread from the stage to the courtyard. The guests began to break out into a coughing fit, and others stood up looking pale.

“A… Ah… I… It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts it hurts! …urts… it hurts-!”

Suddenly, the muzzle broke off of the young dragon as it screamed out, having gone past its breaking point. It was a scream that signalled an agonising end, no different than that of a human being’s. A heartrending, sad, repulsive, never-ending scream.

The lord 's expression changed, and his voice raised towards me in a shout.

“Hurry up and end it already!”

“I can’t. The sword… Won’t move….”

“What!? Let me do it!!”

I was kicked back from the stage, falling back into the blood puddle. The lord faced the dragon in my place, ripping out the longsword from his waist and yelled, slashing at the half-torn neck of the dragon.

The deathly screaming of the baby dragon had stopped, but still, it hadn’t collapsed. The strong vitality of the dragonic species was no comfort to it now.

The guests who had been laughing in front of the corpse-looking dragon gradually fell quiet, and it could be clearly inferred the uncomfortable and constrained spectacle they were reluctantly pulling through. Still, the lord did not read the air. He eagerly grabbed hold of the dragon’s head and attempted to pull it off with his bare hands. After the sight of blood, the use of his sword for the first time in such a long while,  his tone had returned to that of his crude days as a soldier.

“Damn it! Die!! DIE!! DIE ALREADY!!”

After a long struggle, the lord finally ripped off the dragon’s neck.

It continued to stand even after it’s head was removed, continuously stabbed until the blade had pierced it’s heart. Once the sword was finally driven through its chest, the baby dragon’s body convulsed and toppled over with a rumble.

The young dragon had died.

He slowly ran his hands through his clothes, hands and face, stained with blood and pus, and let out a loud laugh.

“Well, what’s this? Where is everyone going off to now? Are you going to eat now that I went through the trouble of killing the beast?”

Just then, a deafening sound came from the sky, followed by an explosion in the distance.

“What!?”

The guests who still sat at the table looked around. The lord sputtered, having picked up on the sound as well.

“Did the Union start fighting again?”

“No!” I shouted, pointing in the direction of the flames. The dragon’s keep was burning.

“The dragons…. They seem to have escaped.”

A flock of dragons flew in the sky over the lord’s territory where the grey clouds hung down. From their body colour, I could tell immediately that they were the dragons from the dragon’s keep.

The dragons roar and flap their wings powerfully, twirling in the sky. The weak and dirty figures we had grown so used to seeing were not there. The frail walls of the dragon keep, let alone the iron shackles and cages were no obstacle to dragons if they had the will to break them.

I knew they’ve always been patient. They struggled to endure their bad treatment at the hands of humans, no matter how severe, trying to keep their faith in humankind… Till they reached their limit.

It was human sin that had driven the dragons to despair. It was the humans’ turn to be paid back.

I fall on my back. My teeth come together, I don’t have the strength anymore. It was barely possibly to crawl to an unoccupied space in the courtyard while being kicked by fleeing guests.

In the distance, I hear many screams of confusion.

“Fire! The dragons are breathing fire!”

“The manor is burning!”

“It burns! It burns!!”

Thick clouds began to look the same colour as the sunset, blazes and flames rose in random areas; the air was difficult to breathe, and many plots of grass had fallen dry. It was only a matter of time before the entire area became a burnt-up field.

The number of circling dragons in the sky steadily increases, likely gathering allies. I had an easy time believing that the dragons who had been used by humans from around the world would regain their freedom and soar into the sky.

The dragons were rebelling. They had turned their backs on the humans.

I turned around, feeling the heat on my back. The flames crawled on the ground like a great snake and approached me.

“Ah-!”

I still haven’t stood up, dragging my hips in retreat. There is a strong feeling of discomfort in the lower half of my body. I was incontinent before I knew it.

“Someone…. SOMEONE HELP ME!”

I look towards the heavens and scream for my life. I can only see the stomachs of the dragons who fly leisurely overhead.

“It’s me! I’m the caretaker!! Come save me! Someone…. Carry me on your back and fly me away from here!!”

On the back of my eyelids, the profile of a dark-haired man riding on the back of a dragon appears.

How I envied that man and the red dragon, how they saw each other as irreplaceable. It was beautiful. One day, that would be nice. I also want to live a life as someone irreplaceable.

As I waved madly towards the sky, one particular dragon caught my eye. A black colour like darkness… It was the black dragon from the dragon keep.

“Please save me!! I’m here! Just below you!!”

Perhaps my voice had reached it — The neck of the black dragon tilted slightly. Our eyes must have met. The moment I thought I had been saved, a hot shock ran down my back.

What? Was that… Fire?

I let out a pained moan and put my hand on my back. It felt slimy… It was blood. My own blood was gushing out. The lord with a longsword, wet with blood, stands in front of me, screaming in shock, pain and fear.

“Idiot! Don’t speak in such a loud voice! If the dragons blow fire now, I’ll get caught up in it!”

It seemed that he pointed the blade at me, rather than the handle. In a daze,  I raised my hands towards the black dragon.

“Wai…..t… Choose me…. Ple…ase…?”

The black dragon slowly flaps its wings and flies away. Didn’t it hear me? I struggled to speak.

“Wait… Only me…. I…. I am….”

“So, that’s why you are so noisy! You’ve managed to escape death!”

The longsword glistens, and cuts my hands from my elbows.

“‘Only you’, you say? Do you mean to say that you are righteous, unlike other human beings? Do you mean to say that you can understand dragons?? Hahah! Nonsense! You are a human who simply abandoned that young dragon to keep your job and survive. You are one of the most dirty-looking people alive. A worthless human being, with plenty of other alternatives.”

His merciless words shatter me. I collapsed on my back and stared up at the sky, feeling the blood dripping from my mouth and ears.

Now, seeing the form of those dragons flying freely in the sky, surrounded by flames, I saw the same nobility and majesty of that red dragon.

“How…. Beautiful….”

That blood-coated murmur slipped from my lips, and I closed my eyes.

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