―――”A younger brother?”
Right now, that’s what Léna-Lloyd just said.
Brother… Sister… Siblings.
The Death Dragon Ouronus is, indeed, the sibling of the Divine Catastrophe Dragon King Jibru.
So, if Léna-Lloyd’s words are to be taken at face value, that means the Death Dragon Ouronus would be my uncle.
What’s it like having an uncle who looks about middle schooler…?
But, more than that…
There’s something even more strange.
Jibru is an Earth Dragon.
And I am an Earth Dragon, too.
―――What’s the deal with having a “Death Dragon” for an uncle?
Does being siblings mean they’re born from the same dragon?
Are Earth Dragons and Death Dragons the same species?
Or, do they have different “parents”?
Then, who exactly is that “parent”…?
「That’s news to me. And why have you kept such a crucial fact hidden?」
The one who brings me back to reality from my deep thoughts is Elibel’s voice.
There’s a slight edge in her voice as she glares at Léna-Lloyd.
Léna-Lloyd looks apologetic, scratching her cheek sheepishly.
「Sorry for keeping it a secret. Truth be told, I only found out about this recently. Just a few hours before the start of this battle, actually. ‘He’ told me.」
「He? Who’s that?」
「Well, it’s someone you guys know very well. That would be———」
Just as Elibel is about to press Léna-Lloyd further, it happens.
———A flash of light.
A white beam shoots straight to the black altar, causing a massive explosion.
BOOM! A tremendous explosion reverberates through the air.
That… that was a Breath.
Moreover, I recognize that magical energy.
A shiver runs down my spine.
Of course, it does.
Because that’s the same magical energy from the Breath that traumatized me the first time I ever unleashed one.
This means that the one who fired is…
『Hmm, the mist has finally cleared.』
A clear voice, filled with serene authority, pierces the air.
Hovering above is Gwyve, the leader of the white wyverns.
He spreads his wings, which are larger than those of typical wyverns, casting a shadow over us.
『Ah, it’s been a while, Earth. Or perhaps this is our first face-to-face? Ah, so that’s the face you wear. Indeed, you do have a fearless look about you, son of Jibru, I’ll give you that.』
Actually, this is just a vessel.
But it looks almost exactly like the real me.
In fact, it might even look more mature than the actual me.
But man, his magical power is still as overwhelming as ever.
I feel a pressure equal to, if not greater than, what I felt from Fáfnir.
Gwyve studies us intently, then lets out a soft chuckle.
『To think that you all noticed the resurrection of the Death Dragon and took action. Moreover, to break through that Dream Mist barrier before us. Between Ann and you, you truly surpass my expectations. Truly delightful. The next generation is growing up quite nicely…』
Uh, actually, the Death Dragon isn’t really our main concern here.
As I wonder how to explain our situation to Gwyve, I notice another dragon with him.
Hovering above Gwyve’s head is a tiny dragon, so small it could easily be overlooked.
Yet, the aura emanating from that diminutive form is overpoweringly immense.
「Earth… why are you here…?」
Despite her faint voice, her words reach me clearly.
There’s an undertone of surprise, even concern.
『Well, explaining might take a while… or maybe not. Let’s just say, we have our reasons.』
「I see… Either way, Earth. You need to leave this place right now.」
Her voice is stern, pushing me away, but tinged with genuine concern.
The reason becomes clear almost immediately.
「Otherwise… you’ll die.」
Jibru’s gaze drifts towards the altar.
A chill runs down my spine as I sense a “different” type of magical energy, distinct from Gwyve or Jibru.
I turn my head towards the black altar.
Standing there, untouched, is Ouronus.
And behind him, you can see Rias, slumped and defeated.
Ouronus casually dusts off his body.
His glass-like eyes lock onto Gwyve and then shift to Jibru perched above him.
A sudden realization dawns on Ouronus’ face.
「…Sis? Aha! It’s you, Sis Jibru! It’s been a millennium since I saw you!」
A grin stretches across his face.
Color flushes his cheeks, and his glassy eyes sparkle with delight.
「It’s been a long time, Ouronus…」
「Yeah! You’re still the same, Sis. So tiny. Incredibly tiny. But, so powerful! Sis! Sis!」
As he smiles warmly, something black begins to sprout from Ouronus’ back.
Pitch-black ones. They bring to mind images of demons.
And there aren’t just one pair… there are three.
Rias, standing behind Ouronus, reaches out, as if trying to grasp something.
But her hand catches only air, hopelessly grasping at nothing.
Without sparing Rias a single glance, Ouronus takes flight, his wings flapping as he approaches Jibru.
「Oh, and by the way, long time no see, Gwyve. You’ve aged quite a bit.」
Ouronus greets Gwyve as if he just noticed him.
「Well, a millennium does that to a dragon. But you, Ouronus… you haven’t changed a bit.」
「Really? I grew taller.」
「That’s not a change.」
「Yes it is.」
Saying so, Ouronus rubs the top of his head.
「I think I’ve grown about an inch taller.」
Seriously? That’s it?
I mean, over a millennium, that’s pretty much negligible, right?
「I see. My apologies, you’re right.」
Did he seriously just accept that?
Both Jibru and Gwyve seem a bit… out of touch with reality.
「Anyway, Ouronus. I have a favor to ask of you.」
「What is it?」
「To be blunt, can you let yourself be ‘sealed’ again?」
Suddenly, Gwyve’s magical power surges explosively.
A silent, yet palpable wave of energy vibrates through the air.
Despite this, Ouronus remains unfazed, his expression unchanged.
「I don’t want to.」
Ouronus’s tone is blunt.
His refusal is crystal clear.
Then, narrowing his eyes, he adds,
He pointedly looks at Jibru perched atop Gwyve’s head.
「How long are you going to keep ‘my’ sister on your head?」
Nonchalantly, Ouronus sweeps his right hand to the side.
The one to react is Jibru.
Jibru’s magical power explodes dramatically.
In an instant, her arm expands enormously.
With all her might, she swings it.
There’s a ringing sound as if she’s struck “something”.
Immediately after, the “mountain” behind Jibru and Gwyve is blasted away.
A ferocious shockwave ensues.
Even though the explosion seems to have happened far away, its shockwave engulfs the imperial capital and reaches us.
What… what was that?
I felt the magic, but I didn’t see the attack at all.
But that feeling, it’s familiar…
「Ouronus! What are you doing?!」
Jibru demands, her voice filled with rage.
Facing the infuriated Jibru, Ouronus coldly responds,
「Stay out of it, sis. I have to kill him.」
「He doesn’t deserve you, not for a moment. He’s been letting you sit on his head, hasn’t he? Why him? I’ve always wanted to be that person for you. This is so wrong. He’s taking what’s rightfully mine. Absolutely unforgivable. That’s it. He’s done for. Who needs Gwyve anyway? You should always be with me, sis. Always. Sitting on my head, where you belong.」
「W-What are… What are you talking about…?」
Even Jibru is taken aback by this statement.
「No one else deserves that privilege, only I do. Even if it means ending him.」
「That’s what I’m saying! I don’t understand what you mean!」
Ouronus tilts his head as if he truly can’t grasp what isn’t understood.
And then, he nods,
「Because you are ‘mine’.」
His eyes, fragile like glass art, fixate directly onto Jibru.
「That’s right, sis, you belong to me.
「Because I am your brother.
「You only have one sibling – me.
「Isn’t it obvious?
「It’s a given.
「I’m your only brother.
「So, you should only have eyes for me.
「You are mine and mine alone.
「I won’t let anyone else have you or even touch you.
「How could I let someone else touch you…
「Sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis…
「Oh, my beloved sister,
「The most beautiful in the world.
「The strongest in the world.
「The sister who was bored in the deepest, tightest part of the dungeon.
「The one who promised to explore the outside world with me.
「All those years I was sealed away, I thought of you.
「How can I make you happy?
「How can I please you?
「I’ve been thinking about it for a long, long time.
「I just can’t stop thinking.
「My thoughts about you just keep coming.
「Sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis, sis…
「Just with that feeling alone, being sealed for a thousand years felt like nothing.
「Of course, it was boring while I was sealed.
「But I never felt lonely.
「Because with memories of you, I could live for thousands of years.
「After all, you are something else.
「You’re nothing like the fantasies.
「You even effortlessly prevent my ‘destruction’.
「After all, the real-life you, my sister in flesh, is the best.
「The version of you I imagine in my head is wonderful, but the real you is unbeatable.
「You’re truly beautiful.
「You’re amazing, sis. Way too amazing.
「Oh, I want to make love to you right now
「I want to thrust my masculinity at you.
「I want you to bear my child.
「But alast the atmosphere is really important for that
「I’m sorry. I got a little carried away.
「But I’m not lying.
「I truly, deeply love you.
「I love you, sis. I love you so much.
「Sis, sis, sis.
「I love you, I love you, I love you.
「I adore you, I adore you, I adore you, I adore you.
「That’s why, that’s why, that’s why―――
Ouronus mumbles to himself, words spilling out like an incessant monologue.
Even though this is just a vessel, I’ve got chills.
Then, he suddenly erupts,
「Don’t you DARE touch my sister!」
With a sharp, unsettling sound, Ouronus’s body begins to transform.
His limbs darken, taking on the scaly appearance of a dragon’s.
From the base of his spine, a long, black dragon’s tail sprouts.
It’s eerily reminiscent of Wald’s “Dragonoid form.”
A colossal surge of magical energy erupts from Ouronus.
What… What kind of magic is this…?
My body trembles.
Although I’m currently in a golem’s body, my original body had a superior ability to detect magic.
And now, I can clearly perceive the absurd immensity of Ouronus’s power.
It’s so dense and overwhelming that the very surroundings seem to warp.
Without hesitation, Ouronus charges at Jibru and Gwyve.
「Damn, here he comes, Jibru!」
「Yeah, not much we can do now.」
Jibru releases her own magic, and in response, her body begins to grow larger.
「But Gwyve, why is he so furious?」
「How should I know?! Maybe he really wanted you to be on his head? Either way, now that it’s come to this, we’ll go all out to seal him!」
「We don’t have much of a choice, do we…」
「GWYVEEEEE! How dare you get close to my sister! I’ll kill you! I swear I will destroy you」
An ear-shattering roar reverberates through the area.
The trio dives straight into battle.
Despite the intense magical surges, the collateral damage isn’t as massive as expected.
Probably, Jibru or Gwyve set up a barrier.
From the looks of it, with Jibru at the forefront of the battle, it’s likely Gwyve who’s managing the barrier.
The Divine Catastrophe Dragon King, Jibru, and the Death Dragon, Ouronus.
A clash between two Dragon King species.
Even though witnessing such a historic moment should’ve been monumental, something else entirely dominates my thoughts.
I sneak a glance at Elibel and Léna-Lloyd.
Judging by their expressions, they’re probably thinking the same thing.
「Hey, Earth. There’s something about Ouronus I’ve been pondering…」
『Funny, me too.』
Everyone nods in agreement.
There’s no doubt about it.
We’re all thinking the same thing.
And that thought is―――
『「「He is seriously into siscon, isn’t he?」」』
Yes, the Death Dragon Ouronus is undeniably a major “siscon” (a guy obsessed with his sister).
And it seems like he’s taken it to a whole other level.
Could the reason Ouronus was sealed away have something to do with this obsession?
What’s more, Jibru and Gwyve don’t seem to have caught onto this at all.
I mean, how can they not realize when his obsession is so blatantly obvious?
It’s actually kind of impressive.
Seriously, why is it that every single one of these Dragon King types is just…so out there?
Watching the intense battle unfold between the three dragon species, I can’t help but wonder about these things.
「Well then, let’s get moving, Earth.」
「Don’t give me ‘eh’. Look, Jibru and Gwyve are distracting Ouronus for us. It’s the perfect chance for us to make our move.」
With that, Elibel looks up at the black altar floating in the sky, likely picturing Rias Aurora, who’s probably still there.
『I just thought you’d take off by yourself while I was distracted by Jibru and Ouronus’s fight.』
「This guy, seriously…」
Elibel lets out a deep sigh and scratches her head.
She holds my gaze, then says,
「It was you who said ‘lean on me’, remember?」
She places a hand on my chest, adding,
「So stick with me to the end, Earth. I’ve got your word. You better take responsibility.」
She grins cheekily.
And so, I grin back.
This is how it should be between us.
Our dynamic feels just right when we’re like this, without the formality or distance.
It’s just not us to be distant.
「Ah, sorry Eli, but I’ll be waiting here.」
With that, Léna-Lloyd slumps to the ground and lets out a heavy sigh.
「The barrier earlier drained all my magic… After battling Rias, the Dragon Slayer, and the Thunder Slash in succession, I’m truly spent.」
「If that’s the case, then find a safe spot and don’t get caught up in anything.」
Not sure if she expected Léna-Lloyd’s reply, but Elibel tersely says just that.
『Hey, Elibel, aren’t you being a bit cold?』
From what I gathered, she really helped you out, didn’t she?
「It’s fine. The distance between us is just like this, and that’s okay.」
『You could at least say ‘thank you’.』
Attempting to cast a spell, she raises her hand.
But unexpectedly, she stops.
Hm? What’s wrong?
「Huh? What’s the matter, Elibel?」
「…Argh, just this once!」
Scratching her head in irritation, Elibel turns her gaze to Léna-Lloyd.
「I’ll go settle things. Just wait here for a bit, ‘Léna.’」
At her words, Léna-Lloyd’s face instantly flushes a deep shade of red, her cheeks slackening.
「Oh, she’s showing affection! Finally, Eli’s warming up to me! Yes!」
Léna-Lloyd shouts triumphantly, arms raised.
「I’m not being affectionate! Just because I called you by your name doesn’t mean you should get the wrong idea!」
Elibel’s response comes, her face slightly red.
She’s not honest at all.
If it embarrassed her that much, she shouldn’t have said it.
「It’s okay! I totally get it! Go on, Eli! Hehehe, you’re such a tsundere~」
「I don’t know what I’m doing anymore! I told you, that’s not it! Argh! Seriously, you two are so frustrating!」
Scratching her head, Elibel is visibly irritated.
Léna-Lloyd, chuckling, glances my way.
「…Oh yeah, you’re Elibel’s superior, right? Sorry to ask this, but take care of her. And just to be clear: if you let anything happen to ‘my’ Eli, I won’t forgive you.」
The moment our eyes meet, her expression turns incredibly serious.
『Wait, what? Of course. Elibel is my subordinate, you know? It’s a given.』
Protecting one’s subordinate.
That should be a given.
But when I say that, for some reason, Léna-Lloyd’s face goes blank with surprise.
However, she soon breaks into a soft laugh.
「…I see, you’re a natural, aren’t you? No wonder Eli is fond of you.」
『What are you talking about?』
「Nothing much. Just, besides Eli, you’re the first one I’ve thought I could get along with right away.」
I tilt my head, confused. I don’t get what she’s talking about.
Only Léna-Lloyd nods as if understanding something.
「Hey, Earth! What are you doing? We need to get moving.」
Oops, I got sidetracked there.
「While we’re at it, let me give you a piece of advice.」
「You’ve got something ‘weird’ mixed in with you. Not talking about your body or your current mental state. It’s deeper, something in the core of your soul. You’d do well to be careful.」
…What’s she talking about?
Wait, now’s not the time to dwell on that.
The Fly spell activates.
Elibel and I rise, once again heading towards the altar.
At the black altar in the imperial capital’s skies―――
―――How did it come to this?
Left alone on the black altar, Rias ponders that very question.
For a millennium, Rias lived solely to resurrect the Death Dragon Ouronus.
All of it, driven by a single wish: to meet him once more.
Without thinking of anything else, betraying everyone who believed in her, she persevered, driven only by her desire to see Ouronus.
『―――Who are you?』
He had said.
Ouronus didn’t remember.
He didn’t even recall the young girl he once saved.
「…What… What should I do now?」
She murmurs, not to anyone in particular.
Footsteps echo softly.
Slowly, she raises her head.
A beautiful woman, cloaked in a robe, stands there.
Behind her, there’s also the figure of a dragon, armored in its scales.
「…Elibel… My lady…」
Two hundred years ago, on a whim, Rias taught her magic. Elibel blossomed into an unparalleled genius, eventually earning the title of Sage.
Why is she here, and why is she looking at me with that expression?
What could she possibly want with me now, who feels like nothing more than an empty shell?
「Stand up, Rias.」
Elibel tosses Rias’s staff that had fallen nearby.
Ah, I see.
Rias hadn’t even realized she no longer held her staff.
As she takes it and rises, Elibel readies her own staff.
「Let’s settle this. Let’s end our two hundred years of unresolved conflict.」
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