Chapter 1:

The Draco Princess and the Mark of Marduk


There is an ancient legend that has been passed down from generation to generation about the rise of a new ruler, a divine god who is born from the union of a human and a dragon, two races who have been enemies since ancient times. He will unite both races and save the world from the brink of destruction. According to legend, this new ruler will have thirteen wives, a wife from each of the thirteen dragon tribes, thereby uniting the entire dragon race. They will bridge the world of magic and the world of humans, and rise to assume the role of the “Universal Dragon God” and bring about a new era deemed the “Golden Peace”. They will appear before an event that will destroy our world, an event that aims to be the last war between dragons and humans—Armageddon. They will use their divine power to judge the sinners and ascend the throne to preserve our world from further destruction. There are three divine signs that will hail the presence of the chosen one: the Mark of Marduk, a symbol of power and rulership with magical properties that will protect only the true ruler from harm; Fafnir, the legendary impenetrable golden armor made of the legendary dragon’s hide that is immune to all forms of magic and divine powers and will grant the true ruler divine strength; and the Seiryu Blade, a mystical and celestial blade blessed with the divine powers of past dragon gods that can split heaven and earth and can never be broken. This legendary ruler is known as the Dragonborn.

The alarm rang out to signal the start of a new school day. Owatatsumi Tatsuya lazily groped around his nightstand for the alarm clock and aggressively turned it off. He woke up with a yawn and grudgingly shuffled out of his bed. He went on to shower and change and got ready for school. His morning routine did little to provide a boost to his negative mood. He sighed dejectedly as he made his way to the kitchen. His parents were out yet again, something that he has gotten used to since a very young age. Tatsuya opened the fridge and brought out a sandwich he bought last night from the convenience store. He heated it and ate it for breakfast. With his backpack slung over his shoulder, Tatsuya walked out of the kitchen and noticed a message on the landline in the living room. He pushed a button and the message played.

His father’s voice filled the entire living room. “Good morning, son! I hope you’re having another good day! Your mother and I are currently in Thessaloniki, Greece, on a trip to climb Mount Olympus. Do you think we’ll meet some real-life Olympians up there? I surely hope we do!” His voice suddenly became a little quieter as he spoke into the background, “Oh, honey, don’t forget to bring an order of gyros! I’ve always wanted to try eating food at the top of mountain peaks!” His father’s suddenly became loud again as he spoke into the phone once more. “Oh, and before I forget, we’re supposed to be getting a visitor sometime today. To be honest, I forgot about the reason why they’re showing. I was too excited for this trip that everything I was told regarding their presence went through one ear and out the other, tee-hee.” Tatsuya was extremely annoyed at that last remark. He couldn’t handle anymore of his father’s carelessness and childlike behavior. “Anyway,” continued his father, “have a good day at school! We’ll be back soon. Don’t know when, to be exact, but soon! Oh, and I’ll be sure to take some pictures of any Olympians I find! See you soon, son!”

The message ended. Tatsuya scoffed at the whole thing and paid no mind to his father’s empty blithe words. His parents were always going around the world by themselves and having fun while he’s stuck here by himself. Then again, he didn’t mind the peace and quiet and the unrestricted freedom he had. After growing accustomed to it at a young age, living alone by himself with no parental figures around became his new normal. Besides, he wouldn’t want to live a life that is constantly changing with no real end in sight. His parents can have their fun around the world trips. He prefers a simple life at home anyway.

Tatsuya exited his house and began his walk to school. But before he could even make it out of his house’s walkway, a long black car with a red stripe appeared in front of his driveway. It glistened in the sun like a sparkling jewel—no doubt the car of a rich person. The car’s sudden appearance forced Tatsuya to take a step back and reassess the reality of his situation. ‘What is a car like that doing in front of my house?’ he wondered cautiously.

The car’s front doors opened and revealed two big burly men dressed in black and red uniforms. They looked like those tough butlers who double as bodyguards for someone really important. The men opened the back door facing Tatsuya and let out a short and thin young woman with a red bob cut and dull red eyes. She looked no older than Tatsuya himself, yet he could sense that she was more experienced with life than he was. She wore an outfit that was a cross between a maid and a secretary: a white blouse with a red tie, a red knee-length skirt with black leggings, a white lace half-apron, red high-heels, and a white lace headpiece. She casually approached Tatsuya and asked, “Is this the Owatatsumi residence?”

“Yes, it is,” he answered back still in a half-daze.

“Are you Owatatsumi Tatsuya?” she asked him.

“Y-Yes, I am,” Tatsuya responded.

The young woman walked back to the car and bowed before the opened door. “We have arrived, Princess,” she spoke to someone inside the car.

A young teenage girl elegantly stepped out of the car. Tatsuya felt his heart stop. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever laid his eyes on. She had fiery crimson red hair that flowed down her back to her waist; bright ruby-red eyes that shined brilliantly with power, authority, elegance, and beauty; and a smooth rosy complexion like that of a baby’s silky unblemished skin. She had the air of a young lady around her, walking with precise elegant steps and wearing a small smile. The girl wore a red dress that stretched down to below her knees, red high heels, a pair of white arm sleeve gloves, and around her neck was a sparkling red necklace with a jewel pendant. She had made her way to Tatsuya and glanced at him with her bright ruby-red eyes. And then, in a quick flash that left no time for response, the girl grabbed onto Tatsuya’s arm and happily exclaimed, “I finally get to meet you, Darling!”

“D-D-Darling?!” exclaimed Tatsuya in utter surprise. “Wait, why are you grabbing onto me?” he asked her in a distressed tone.

The girl didn’t pay attention to his question and instead started to sniff him like a happy puppy. “You smell wonderful, darling!” she announced. With love-struck eyes she added, “I’ll remember your scent forever!”

“Will someone explain what’s going on?!” Tatsuya yelled at the top of his lungs.

The young maid from earlier quickly approached the girl and pried her away from Tatsuya. She then bowed before him and forced the girl to the same. “I am sorry for my mistress’ behavior.”

“Uh, sure,” Tatsuya replied slowly.

“It is rude of us to have not introduced ourselves,” the maid said. She turned to the girl and said, “Please introduce yourself, princess.”

The girl curtsied and said, “I am Aika, Princess of the Draco Tribe.”

“And I am my mistress’ maid and confidante, Ingrid,” greeted the maid with a bow.

“What’s a princess doing here?” wondered Tatsuya aloud.

“She is to be your wife,” Ingrid told him.

“Wife?” Tatsuya thought aloud. The sudden realization of the meaning behind those words hit him like a truck. He glanced at Aika with a baffled expression and was met back with a beautiful smile. ‘Just what the hell is going on?!’ he screamed inside his head. “No one told me about this!” he quickly yelled defensively.

“Really?” Ingrid asked in a slightly confused tone. “We were sure that you have been informed of this by your father.”

“My father?” Tatsuya asked back. Suddenly he remembered the message his father had left him on the landline regarding a visitor. ‘That damn bastard of a father,’ he mentally groaned annoyedly, ‘I’ll kill him the next time I see him!’

“Where are you going, darling?” asked Aika, pointing to the backpack slung around Tatsuya’s shoulder.

“Oh crap!” he exclaimed. He quickly ran off and called back, “I got to get going now!”

Aika turned to Ingrid with a confused look. The maid shrugged in response.

Tatsuya finally made it to school and rushed up the stairs to his class. Panting and sweating, he made it just in time before class had begun. He took his seat and caught his breath. Class began and ended just like any other day. The first break arrived and Tatsuya found himself staring out the window for no apparent reason at all. A slap to his back made him jump. He turned to see his friends Sasuke, Daiki, and Manami smiling at him.

“Good morning, Tatsu!” announced Sasuke happily. Nanami Sasuke, one of the most popular boys in school and a clueless lady-killer, is one of Tatsuya’s best friends and a childhood friend that he had met since fifth grade. He is a tall boy with a lean frame and sparkling long blonde hair. He had electric blue eyes and sharp facial features like that of a carefully crafted sculpture. Sasuke has a very affable personality and is friendly and kind to everyone he meets. Though he’s not naïve in the least, he has a reputation for being clueless when it comes to girls—he has no idea at all just how handsome he is nor why any girl he comes across always treat him like a perfect prince. Nevertheless, he’s a loyal friend and is great with advice. He normally calls Tatsuya “Tatsu”.

“Good morning, Ta-kun!” greeted Daiki with a smile. Hamada Daiki, the class representative and the school’s number two student, is one of Tatsuya’s best friends whom he had met during the second-year of middle school. He is also pretty tall, his head reaching above Sasuke by a mere quarter inch, and had short silver-blue hair. He wore thin-framed glasses over his stormy gray-blue eyes. Daiki has a very logical and systemized personality, but he is also very sympathetic and understanding towards others. His ability to understand and balance matters of the heart and matters of the head has made him very popular with the underclassmen. Though he may come off as blunt sometimes, his words carry great wisdom, which anyone who asks for his advice notices and accepts graciously. He is also very popular with the girls too, and though he is not clueless like Sasuke, he appears to not be interested by his own volition. He normally calls Tatsuya “Ta-kun”.

“Good morning, Tatsu-chin!” greeted Manami exuberantly. Tatsumi Manami, a boy popular throughout the school for two reasons: his beautiful feminine appearance, and his reputation for being the biggest pervert in the entire school. He is also one of Tatsuya’s best friends whom he had met during the second-year of middle school He is the shortest of the group, but is about average when compared to the typical Japanese high school student. He has silky smooth golden brown hair and sultry amber eyes. His features were like that of a moe doll: thin sensuous lips, pronounced cheek bones, a cute button nose, and a lightly tanned skin-tone. Because of his looks, he has drawn the attention of many boys, despite them knowing his true gender. He is also very popular with girls too, but his conspicuous perverted nature quickly turns them off. Manami has a very cute personality like that of an innocent child, yet his love for the lewd and the erotic often takes center-stage. This dual nature has often caused many to be wary of his true intentions, especially girls. Despite his constant perversion, Manami is a good friend who is very loyal. He calls Tatsuya “Tatsu-chin”.

On the other hand, Owatatsumi Tatsuya is an average student with no schoolwide reputation. He’s not that great athletically nor academically, at least that’s the image he presents at school, and is satisfied with only doing the bare minimum to pass by. It’s not that he isn’t motivated. He just believes that one does not need to go overboard to succeed in life. He is a sixteen year old second-year high schooler with orange-red hair and azure blue eyes. He has a small scar under his right eye that he had received from a childhood incident. Personality-wise, he’s normally an amicable person towards others and possesses a strong sense of duty. He is quick to provide assistance when asked, no matter the situation, leading to his friends labeling him a pushover. But he is also easily irritable, especially when faced with random and abnormal situations or anything involving his parents; and is quick to sink into depression at the slightest mention of any bad qualities attributed to him. Also, as seen before, he isn’t a morning person at all and is prone to wake up with a bad mood for no reason other than the fact that it just happens.

“So why were you almost late today?” asked Sasuke.

Suddenly, the image of the crimson-haired girl flashed through Tatsuya’s mind. “Nothing much,” he lied. His cheeks slowly turned a little red from remembering this morning’s incident.

“Really?” pressed Manami with a malicious smile.

“I just woke up late, that’s all!” declared Tatsuya with a pout.

“That is truly bizarre,” commented Daiki, pushing up his glasses to his face. “You usually arrive ten to twelve minutes before class starts and not a minute later. This is truly a discrepancy to your daily schedule. And this is also not taking into account days when you encounter unexpected situations such as construction work or an accident.”

“You and your need to analyze and systemize everything,” said Sasuke with a laugh.

“Logic rules above all,” replied Daiki with a triumphant smile, pushing up his glasses in a cool pose.

“I was just a little late today,” said Tatsuya dismissively. “What’s the big deal anyway?”

“It’s not a big deal,” reassured Sasuke. “We were just worried about you as friends.”

“Speaking of worry,” chimed in Manami with an awkward chuckle. He brought out from his uniform pockets a large pile of letters addressed to him from various male students—confession letters. “What should I do about this?” he asked anxiously, teary-eyed.

Tatsuya grabbed Manami’s shoulder and said in a confidant fatherly tone, “Go for it, my son. I will still love you no matter who you love.”

Manami unleashed a barrage of light punches onto the sitting Tatsuya, crying out, “You know I don’t swing that way! Man, you and your jokes! I thought we were best friends! Aren’t you supposed to be worried about me too?”

“I feel more worried about the guy you choose to accept,” joked Sasuke in a serious tone with a sagely nod.

“Yes, dating a huge pervert is bound to tarnish anyone’s reputation whether they are male or female,” joined in Daiki.

Manami turned to the other two and defiantly said, “Stop joking already! Just a few minutes ago, you said that you worry for your friends! What would that make me then?”

Sasuke, Daiki, and Tatsuya glanced at each other and nodded in unison.

“Pervert,” answered Sasuke.

“Demon,” added Daiki.

“Scum,” finished Tatsuya.

Manami hung his head in despair. The other three laughed and Sasuke placed a hand on his shoulder. “We’re kidding,” he reassured Manami. “But this isn’t exactly new,” he pointed out. “You can’t help it if boys see you that way.”

“But I really want a pretty girl, not a pretty boy,” said Manami, wiping a tear away from his eye. And then, with newfound vigor and confidence, he said, “I know what I must do! I need to seduce a girl and make her mine. Once I get a girlfriend, all of this will be behind me!” He looked around the classroom for his new target. He had settled on his new target and told his friends his choice with a devious smile. “I’m going to ask out Saotome Miwa!” he announced confidently. Before the others could offer him a response, he walked over to the girl and unleashed his perverted charm. Tatsuya and the others watched as Manami got rejected rather harshly with a mixture of physical retaliation and verbal insults. It was just like any other normal school day.

Tatsuya returned home from school as if it was just another regular school day. He walked in carelessly and threw his backpack onto the couch. He headed to the stairs for his room when a voice from behind him caught his attention.

“Welcome back, Darling!” cheerfully greeted Aika.

Tatsuya slowly turned around with sweat pouring down his neck and face. He saw Aika standing before him in her dress, smiling. To make sure that it wasn’t a dream, he slapped his own face without any restraint. The impact of the strike left a huge red mark on his cheek and an even huger pain that shook his entire body. Even though the pain was unbearable, he knew that this was indeed real and not a dream.

“Darling!” exclaimed Aika in surprise and worry. She rushed up to Tatsuya and touched the red cheek. “Are you okay?” Her face was inches away from Tatsuya’s. His cheeks became even redder because of the short distance between their respective lips. He looked into her eyes and examined her face more closely. Never before had he met a more beautiful girl nor got this close to one. Her ruby-red eyes, her sultry lips, her smooth rosy complexion…. Suddenly, Tatsuya felt his face getting hotter.

He gently pushed her away and quickly faced the opposite direction. “I-I-I’m fine,” he stuttered in a defiant tone. He took a deep breath and, having calmed down, shifted his focus to the real question at hand. “What are you doing in my house?”

Aika giggled and answered, “To better serve you, Darling!”

“Who even let you in in the first place?” he asked furiously. “This is breaking and entering!”

“Your father told us where the spare key was,” Aika told him. “Ingrid contacted him earlier today.” With a cute smile, she added, “It was cute to hide the key behind the little dragon plant pot.”

‘That good-for-nothing bastard!’ cursed Tatsuya. ‘Once he gets home, I’ll really kill him!’ He calmed himself with another deep breath and asked, “So what’s this about me being your darling?”

“Our fathers reached an agreement for our marriage!” announced Aika cheerfully. She fiddled with her fingers and wore a bashful smile. “You know,” she added bashfully, “I fell in love with you at first.”

“L-L-Love at first sight?” stuttered Tatsuya. “You’re kidding!”

She flashed him a sincere smile, setting Tatsuya’s heart aflutter. He found himself falling deeper into an abyss that he had no chance of escaping. Utterly defeated, Tatsuya surrendered to the girl’s words. Though he will choose to acknowledge her words, he will not in any way accept them. Just because he surrendered to her words doesn’t mean that he is obligated to accept them as truth.

A weird sound coming from the kitchen caught Tatsuya’s attention. He and Aika walked over to the kitchen to check it out. A giant silver pot from an open cupboard was suddenly scrambling along the countertops and crashing into the walls. Tatsuya quickly picked up the silver pot and, upon seeing what was causing the racket, jumped back in surprise at the creature responsible. It was a big red lizard with smooth skin. The creature had glowing yellow eyes, two black horns on top of its head, a pointed snout like that of crocodile, a tail that was as long as half it’s body length, two folded bat-like wings, and four sharp obsidian claws on each of its feet.

“What the—?” uttered Tatsuya in fear and surprise. The creature looked at him and flicked out a forked tongue.

“Salazar!” called Aika with pouted lips and her hands on her hips. “Geez, you are such a bad salamander!” The creature lowered its head like an obedient dog and whimpered with big puppy-eyes. Aika quickly discarded her fury and said, “Aw, I can’t stay mad at you forever! Come here!” She spread her arms out and the salamander jumped into her arms. Tatsuya could see that it was about the same size as a Japanese Chin (Japanese Spaniel). Aika tickled under the salamander’s chin and the creature purred in response like a spoiled cat and wagged it’s tail.

“What the hell is that?!” shouted Tatsuya.

“This is Salazar, my pet salamander,” Aika told him with a smile.

“That’s definitely not a salamander!” objected Tatsuya, pointing accusingly at the creature.

“Oh, right, I forgot,” said Aika, “salamanders like Salazar don’t exist in the human realm.”

“What the hell are you going on about?” Tatsuya asked in a confused tone.

“Salazar is what you might call a Primordial Salamander, which is a different species from the salamanders of the human world,” Aika explained.

“I don’t get this at all,” grumbled Tatsuya annoyedly. “Why is he here anyway?” he asked her.

“He’s my pet,” Aika answered.

“No! No pets in this house!” Tatsuya told her vehemently. “More importantly, this is my house! I didn’t give you permission to break in and make yourself at home!”

“But your father has given us his permission,” protested Aika.

“I don’t care about what the old man says!” argued back Tatsuya. “This is my house! You need my permission! Mine!” He quickly scanned the room and realized that it was only them two in the house. “Where’s your maid?” he asked her.

“She’s staying somewhere nearby,” Aika told him.

“Then you can go live with her,” Tatsuya told her.

“Darling?” said Aika on the verge of tears.

“I am not your darling!” yelled Tatsuya.

Aika gasped in surprise at his outrage and fearfully took a step back. With Salazar still in her arms, and tears streaming down her rosy cheeks, Aika ran out of the house. Tatsuya took a breath and calmed down his rage. He walked to the front door and locked it. ‘Good riddance,’ he thought triumphantly to himself. As he took a seat on the couch, Aika’s words suddenly flashed through his mind: “I finally get to meet you darling!”, “I’ll remember your scent forever!”, “It was love at first sight!”, “Darling!”. Tatsuya shook his head and convinced himself that it was better this way. He didn’t even know who she was in the first place.

Meanwhile, Aika ran all the way down to the corner of the street. She dropped to her knees and cried into Salazar’s belly. The creature sympathized with her and licked her face in an attempt to cheer her up. Aika didn’t know what went wrong. All of her words were genuine, sincere, and true. She truly did love him from the bottom of her heart. But the memory of Tatsuya telling her off coldly only brought her more emotional pain and tears.

“Are you okay, princess?” asked a young man’s voice. Aika looked up to see a young smiling man in front of her. He had silver white hair and a handsomely pale complexion. His eyes were closed as he smiled. He wore a fitting silver overcoat and silver-blue slacks. Everything about him screamed high-class and noble.

“W-Who are you?” asked Aika, wiping away her tears.

The young man opened his eyes to reveal shiny silver eyes like that of lustrous pearls. “Please excuse my rudeness, Princess Aika,” said the young man with a gentlemanly bow.

“How do you know who I am?” Aika gasped. “You’re not human, are you?”

“I am merely a man who believes in the ancient ways,” the man told her with a sadistic smile. “Have you heard of Ouroboros, your highness?”

“Ouroboros?” repeated Aika.

“It would be my pleasure to explain, but you see, I don’t really need to,” said the young man with a fake friendly smile. He held out his hand and a stream of white ice shot out, quickly encasing Aika in a giant glacier. Salazar was quick to fly out of harm’s way. The creature opened its mouth and shot out a bowling ball-sized fireball at the enemy. A giant wall of ice suddenly surrounded the young man, protecting him from the fireball. Salazar quickly flew away to find help for his master…and he knew just the person.

Tatsuya had warmed up the boxed lunch he had bought earlier and began to eat it for dinner. As he ate, his mind subconsciously brought back the image of Aika’s teary face. The thought made his stomach feel heavy. He forcibly pushed the thought out of his head and continued eating as if nothing had happened. “Not my problem,” he muttered to himself. A vigorous tapping sound caught his ear and Tatsuya put down his chopsticks. It was coming from the front window in the living room. Whoever it was, they seem to be overly excited about something. Tatsuya walked over to see who it was and quickly recoiled when he saw a strange flying creature tapping the glass with its snout. He realized it was Aika’s pet salamander and quickly ran outside. “Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?!” he yelled at the creature.

“Kra! Kra! Kra kra kra kra!” barked Salazar frantically.

“Huh? I don’t understand a single word coming out of your mouth!” groaned Tatsuya angrily.

“Kra! Kra!” barked Salazar. The salamander flew away and gestured for Tatsuya to follow. Tatsuya, annoyed with the creature’s antic, chased after it without a single thought. He came to a street corner and found Salazar waiting for him on the ground. Behind the creature was a giant glacier with a person inside. It took him a few seconds before he realized that the person inside the glacier was none other than Aika.

“What the hell?” he muttered.

“Oh, who do we have here?” came a voice from behind him. Tatsuya turned to face the young silver-white haired man. “This business does not concern you, human,” said the young man with a smile.

Tatsuya didn’t know why, but there was something about the young man’s smile that seriously pissed him off. “What the hell did you do?” Tatsuya asked the young man threateningly. The young man held out his hand and shot out a stream of ice at Tatsuya. Tatsuya felt the air grow colder and saw a giant mass of blue-white ice coming straight for him. He dodged it at the last minute and saw how the ice quickly froze the fence wall behind him. ‘This dude is seriously going to kill me,’ he thought fearfully to himself. From up above him, Salazar shot out a burst of three fireballs at the young man.

The young man was unfazed and simply put them out with his beams of ice. He shot out a giant icicle and struck the salamander out of the sky. Salazar fell down from the sky like an injured bird, prompting Tatsuya to rush over to the salamander and catch him. Luckily, Salazar was only lightly injured. The salamander was still able to move, albeit slowly and painfully. ‘This guy is really bad news,’ Tatsuya thought to himself. He turned to the creature and said, “Can you melt that giant glacier?” Salazar nodded confidently to show that he can. “Then you go and melt that giant glacier to get the princess out,” he told the creature. Turning to face the silver white-haired young man, he added darkly, “I’ll take care of this bastard.”

Salazar jumped out of Tatsuya’s arms and ran up to the giant glacier trapping his master. He inhaled deeply and then let out a giant stream of fire at the ice, melting it at a quick rate. Meanwhile, Tatsuya walked up to the silver white-haired young man and said with a snarl, “Who do you think you are, you overcoat bastard?”

“My, my, what foul language from a human,” chuckled the silver white-haired young man. “Do you truly believe that you, a mere human, is a match for me?”

“I don’t care who or what you are,” Tatsuya told him furiously. “You were the one that almost killed me. This is just a little payback.” It’s been so long since Tatsuya fought. Ever since he was young, he had an uncle who would come visit him and train him in martial arts. At first, it started off as nothing more than a game, but he became quite serious once he matured enough to understand the importance of knowing how to fight. To be honest, Tatsuya had never been in a fight his entire life outside of sparring sessions with his uncle. But that all ended eight years ago after a certain incident. He brought his fists up to his chest and spread his legs with his left leg in front. This was the fighting stance his uncle had taught him in his childhood.

“Oh? Interesting stance there,” remarked the young man with an evil smile. He shot out another burst of icicles straight at Tatsuya. Moving quicker than the blink of an eye, Tatsuya jumped into the air and dodged the blast, landing effortlessly on his own two feet and rushing forward towards his target. He executed Technique 32: Spinning Dragon Tail-Whip—a horizontal spinning side kick to the opponent’s ribcage. The impact sent the silver white-haired young man into the air and crashing down onto the ground like a falling rock.

Before the enemy could get back on his feet, Tatsuya jumped into the air to execute Technique 54: Rolling Dragon Tail Strike—a high somersault kick to the opponent’s head and/or face. However, before he could land this strike, the enemy had instinctively raised up a barrier of ice. Tatsuya’s kick couldn’t break the ice and he was forced to land on his knee. He looked up at the ice barrier in front of him and was met by a surprise attack—a giant icicle grew out of the side of the barrier and pierced through his chest. Suddenly, the world around him became a blur. Was this the end for him?

By this time, Salazar had successfully rescued his master from her imprisonment. Aika’s eyes adjusted themselves and the first image that she saw after being saved took her soul away. There, skewered lifelessly before her on a giant icicle, was Tatsuya. She couldn’t breathe anymore after seeing this scene. “Darling?” she whispered under her breath. “Darling!” she cried out desperately, tears streaming down her eyes.

“Darling?” repeated the silver white-haired young man intriguingly.

Aika got up to her feet and adamantly announced, “I will make you pay for harming my darling!” Her eyes screamed murder and her heart was set on revenge. She raised her right hand and unleashed a giant stream of fire fitting of her royal status. The massive stream burned through the enemy’s ice barrier and the giant icicle. Tatsuya’s body fell to the ground and Aika quickly attended him. He was breathing shallowly, but his condition was getting worse; his skin had grew cold and all of the color was slowly drained from his face. “Darling,” cried Aika in a quiet voice.

“What are you doing?” groaned Tatsuya weakly. “Just leave me be. You should run away now.”

“But I can’t leave you!” cried Aika.

“We don’t even know each other,” replied Tatsuya with a dry chuckle. “Don’t be an idiot and save yourself.”

“Darling,” whispered Aika sadly. “I will always love you. Always.”

“Aw,” groaned the silver white-haired man disinterestedly. “Maybe I’ll just end this right now and kill the both of you.” He raised his hand and slowly formed a swirling mass of ice and snow in the air. Aika had her face buried in Tatsuya’s expiring body. As mercilessly as he was, the silver white-haired young man threw the mass at the couple.

Tatsuya saw the giant swirling mass coming at him and thought, ‘Well, this is the end.’ Suddenly, just when the end seemed to be near, a bright glow caught everyone’s attention. The bright rainbow glow shone brighter than the brightest neon sign. The swirling mass of ice and snow magically disappeared into nothingness once it made contact with the glowing light.

“Impossible!” the silver white-haired young man exclaimed.

The glow disappeared and a black mark suddenly appeared on the back of Tatsuya’s right hand. The image was that of a standing snake-like dragon with eagle-like claws and horns. Both Aika and the silver white-haired boy were surprised at this development. Tatsuya suddenly found himself staring clearly into the night sky and could make out the twinkling stars. ‘Didn’t I just die?’ he wondered to himself. He slowly felt around his chest and noticed that the hole that should’ve been there had disappeared. He suddenly jumped up with renewed energy and frantically groped his own body to see whether this was purely an illusion or reality. When he was certain that he was indeed alive, he sighed in relief and said, “I thought I was done for!”

Aika jumped up and hugged him, shouting with joy, “Darling! You’re okay!”

“Tch,” scoffed the silver white-haired young man. He wore a cruel smile and said, “I guess I have to end this once and for all.” His body suddenly began to change like a metamorphosing insect; his arms and legs became large lizard claws with four long black sickle-like nails, his neck grew longer and taller and his face protruded forward with a long snout that housed rows of serrated teeth, and a long tail the size of a small car protruded from his backside. The young man’s clothes were torn and fell to the ground as he grew bigger and bigger until he reached more than fifteen-feet in height and more than twenty-feet in length. His skin became a scaly light-blue color. Silver spikes ran down from the top of his head to the tip of his tail. A pair of glistening silver bat-like wings sprouted from his back. Silver tattoo-like swirls adorned his thighs, shoulders, and chests. Even in his new monstrous draconic form, the young man still had his shiny lustrous silver pearl eyes.

“Wh-Wh-What the hell just happened?!” exclaimed Tatsuya. In front of his eyes was a real-life dragon. He had only seen such creatures in movies and anime shows.

“He’s revealed his true form,” Aika told him with a warrior’s gaze. “It’ll be hard to defeat him like this.”

“Now I will show you my true power, princess,” said the dragon in the young man’s voice. He opened his mouth and swirl of ice and snow began to form. It quickly grew bigger and bigger until it became the same size as a large boulder. Effortlessly, the dragon released the massive ball of ice and snow straight for Tatsuya and Aika. Instinctively without a second thought, Tatsuya revealed the mark on the back of his right hand to the hurling projectile. Immediately, the massive ball of ice and snow disappeared into nothingness as if it never existed in the first place. “This is getting really frustrating,” groaned the dragon with a sigh.

“How are we going to defeat that?” Tatsuya asked aloud.

“I can face him in my true form,” Aika told him.

“You can turn into a dragon too?” he asked her in surprise. Aika responded with a solemn nod. Tatsuya scanned the place that was their battlefield and decided that having two dragons face off near human neighborhoods would be a very bad idea. “It’s too dangerous,” he told her.

“If you surrender the princess now, human, I will allow you to live,” offered the dragon politely.

“Cut the crap!” yelled out Tatsuya in opposition. “As if I can trust a guy who already killed me once before tonight. I may not have anticipated to be caught in some sort of fantasy battle with a real-life dragon, and I for sure don’t want to be a part of some sort of marriage agreement with someone I don’t even know, but one thing I can’t let happen is for someone as crappy as you have your way. I don’t know why you want to capture the princess or what you’re planning to do with her, but anyone who tries to harm a girl or force her to do something against her will is the lowest of scum!”

“What are you rambling on about?” asked the dragon with an irritated groan.

With extreme confidence in each and every word, Tatsuya declared loudly for the world to hear, “I will protect Aika with my life! If you want to capture her, then you better be prepared to deal with me!”

“Interesting,” commented the dragon intriguingly.

Aika turned to face Tatsuya with twinkling eyes. Those words that had just come out of Tatsuya’s mouth made her heart flutter. She had never felt any more in love before than in that moment. Overtaken by her emotions and desires, she took Tatsuya’s face in her hands and kissed him amidst his surprised protests. Their lips touched and a new magic was born. Aika could feel her feelings baring themselves in this very kiss. Tatsuya, on the other hand, had never felt both embarrassed and comforted in his entire life; the kiss was warm and was full of love, igniting a flame in his heart and making him feel a type of love that was more primitive than anything he had ever felt in his life. His cheeks were quickly reddening beyond a bright scarlet color.

The new magic born from this connection took shape. Aika could feel her love empowering Tatsuya with renewed vigor. Tatsuya could feel his body becoming filled with an energy he had never felt before. His body became hot like a steaming tea-kettle. His skin slowly turned a light shade of red, his hair became scarlet and his eyes turned into glorious draconic rubies with yellow slit pupils. His canines grew longer to become dragon-like fangs and his tongue became forked. His face took on a semi-draconic appearance with a serpentine-like nose and red scales forming around his forehead and the chin. The nails on his hands became sickle-like claws and a red tail with a trident-like tip that was a quarter the length of his body protruded from his backside, and two red bat-like wings grew from his back. Two spike-like horns protruded from his forehead. The transformation was complete. Once Aika released him from her grip, Tatsuya first noticed his claws. His embarrassment quickly disappeared in exchange for surprised confusion. He groped his entire body and felt that his skin had become some sort of hard material.

“What the hell just happened?!” he yelled, freaking out.

“Darling?” Aika asked in surprise.

“Oi, did you do this to me?” asked Tatsuya.

“Looks like you aren’t a regular human at all,” concluded the enemy dragon with an intrigued smile. “Now this is getting really interesting!”

Tatsuya turned to face his opponent. He was boiling with anger at his current situation, freaked out of his mind over his random transformation, and pissed off at having to deal with such an annoying enemy. “You know,” Tatsuya said to the dragon with a furious gaze, “you can just shut up and crawl back to the cave you came from!” He took in a deep breath and blew out a giant stream of fire straight for the enemy. ‘What the hell is going on?’ Tatsuya wondered to himself, surprised at his own powers.

The enemy dragon responded with a beam of ice. The two streams of energy came into contact and seemed to be equally matched at first sight. Having enough of this random night, Tatsuya pushed harder and channeled more dragon energy into the flame. The stream of fire responded to his wish and sliced through the ice beam. The stream of fire struck the enemy dragon right in the chest. Sensing that his demise was near, the enemy dragon flew into the air and shouted back, “I have lost today, but I will soon return to complete my mission. I will be back to capture you, princess, and I will defeat you once and for all, Dragonborn! Vivat Ouroboros!”

Once the enemy left, Tatsuya transformed back into his regular self. He, Aika, and Salazar returned back to his home. When they arrived, Aika was hesitant to enter. Tatsuya noticed her uneasy expression. After the crazy night he had gone through, he just wants to be by himself and relax. But the good guy in him knew that it was would be wrong to turn away the girl he had run to save and who had in turn helped him to defeat the bad guy. As nonchalantly as he could, he scratched his head and reluctantly said, “Alright, you can spend the night.”

Aika quickly brightened like a polished jewel. “Thank you, Darling,” she said with a smile.

“Yeah, yeah,” Tatsuya said with flushed cheeks.

“Kra, kra, kra!” barked Salazar.

‘I forgot about the pet,’ groaned Tatsuya. He glanced at the pet and heaved out a defeated sigh. “He can stay too,” he said.

“Oh thank you!” squealed Aika. “Did you hear that, Salazar? We can spend the night together! I knew Darling was a kind man! Didn’t I tell you?” she chattered away to her pet salamander.

Tatsuya saw Aika’s smile and couldn’t help but feel good inside. A small smile tugged at his lips. Somehow, he had a feeling that he was in for quite an adventure.

Taylor Victoria