“This, why… “
While the heart was still beating vigorously, it was quite different from earlier. Unlike when it was surrounded by dark red veins, now it was shining in a bright red, like a ruby.
“Why is the color… “
Spencer bit his lips hard as he looked at the changed heart. Was it because of the impact on the heart while rolling? Spencer, who knew nothing about dragons and was ignorant, blamed himself and tousled his short hair.
“It can’t be because of me… “
Spencer’s pale face turned black and white.
His trembling lips were tightly pressed as Spencer, looking lost and helpless, stared at the distant sun hanging in the sky without knowing how high it was.
While cautiously touching the pounding heart, Spencer, who hoped it would come back, heard a strange sound in his ear.
Due to echoes reverberating everywhere, it was impossible to guess where the sound was coming from, but instinctively, it could be understood that the sound was coming from above.
In agony, Spencer bent his body at the screaming cry that continued for a long time.
“What on earth is it?”
The never-ending scream continued, and the echoes spread even below the mountain. Not only Spencer but also flying monsters and birds scattered around the mountain seemed surprised by the sound, flying into the sky. The ground trembled, adding the roars of monsters and beasts.
“What… what is it?”
The entire mountain seemed to be trembling with fear.
The voice of a predator was heard right nearby. The hairs on Spencer’s body stood on end, warning of danger.
Even just hearing the sound, one could guess how large the thing behind was.
Shaking like a quivering bamboo in fear, Spencer slowly stood up, bending his body to overcome it.
‘I will not die like this, no matter what.’
For the sake of his comrades.
Spencer clenched his teeth.
As the sword was quickly drawn from the sheath hanging on his waist, Spencer turned around.
Something that looked like a large calf covered with black fur. However, it was threatening with sharp horns on its head and a large size that made it not quite like a calf. The snorting breath caused the weeds in front of Spencer to shake.
As Spencer’s throat made a gurgling sound, the dry interior of his mouth moistened with saliva. Can he win? If he couldn’t overpower it in one breath, there was no chance of winning.
As the cow lowered its head, sturdy muscles were revealed on its thick neck, which seemed to combine the waists of two or three normal soldiers.
Growling, the cow’s eyes staring at Spencer were far different from the predator’s. Those were the eyes of a prey. As the sharp fangs clashed, a thudding sound spread through the silent space.
Unable to give up, Spencer stood the sword upright with one hand and tightly grasped the heart wrapped in a cloak with the other.
With each snort, Spencer’s bangs fluttered.
The solid legs of the cow, pushing away the soil, gradually approached Spencer.
Each time, the hot heat felt closer.
Spencer, as if envying the confidence that Gia always had during fights, spat out words like Gia. However, regret came quickly. He realized that confidence could only come when backed by skill.
Uttering such words with a trembling voice full of fear and trembling was of no use.
Still, to resist the pressure, Spencer, standing straight, stared piercingly into the approaching black eyes of the cow.
With determination not to give up, Spencer glared, and the red eyes of the cow narrowed.
The sharp horns of the cow, which stopped just a foot away, seemed like they could pierce Spencer’s skull with a slight move.
In the rushing breath, Spencer’s eyelids left a slight gap. Is this the end? Pressed without even properly wielding the sword, he couldn’t do anything.
Should he swing the sword now? The right hand holding the sword trembled. Veins popped on the back of the hand holding the handle as it shook due to the fear.
“I never thought I’d end up like this… uh, uh…”
Spencer stared dumbfounded at the cow that suddenly kneeled in front of him.
‘What… what’s going on?’
Without any movement, Spencer, who had been staring, saw the crumpled lungs unfold, and the cow breathed out.
Now, the large red pupils looked gentle. Watching such a cow, Spencer, who had judged the cow arbitrarily in fear, blinked stupidly.
The cow, which kneeled as if it had no intention of harming, just looked at Spencer with a blank expression.
“What… what is it?”
The tense muscles that had been strained relaxed, and Spencer’s legs lost strength. Spencer, who was hesitatingly sitting down, barely managed to support himself by inserting the sword into the ground.
Standing in an awkward posture, Spencer wondered if he was dreaming right now. Perhaps he had already died, pierced by the horns of this cow. The cow brought its wet nose to Spencer’s chest, surprising him. Although he recoiled at the gesture, the cow’s nose continued to approach.
The snorting nose, spouting steam, moved around as if searching for something. Spencer, staring dumbfounded, lowered his gaze to the cloak he tightly held in his arms. No, that couldn’t be. It’s an unbelievable story, but his hands moved on their own to unfold the cloak.
Seeing the dragon’s heart beating vigorously like a raw fish, the eyes of the already large cow seemed to bulge out even more. What is this? The cow’s face looked sad.
Was he going crazy? Spencer smacked his cheek hard. The cow looked sad.
The red eyes, moistened with liquid, were drooping below. Perhaps trying to shake off intrusive thoughts, the cow shook its face. At that moment, the threatening horns moved as if to stab Spencer. When he crouched back to avoid it, the cow seemed to realize its mistake and became calm again.
“This… can’t be.”
Spencer withdrew the dragon’s heart into the depths of his arms, moving his body away. Despite strong resistance, the cow remained indifferent, sitting quietly and looking at Spencer.
“Even if you say you’ll kill me, I can’t give it to you.”
Spencer glared at the cow with a face that quickly adapted to the situation, which seemed unbelievable given how scared he was just a moment ago.
Whether the cow understood Spencer’s words or not, it stepped back with hesitant steps and then thumped its tail on the ground. It was a light shake, but the rock stuck in the ground split in half. Spencer, whose mouth was wide open, finally came to his senses and forcefully raised his head.
Swallowing the saliva that was about to spill, Spencer tightly clutched the dragon’s heart once again. He pulled out the sword stuck in the ground, put it back into the sheath, and cautiously stepped back.
It should be okay to go now. Spencer took a step back, facing the seemingly non-hostile cow. There was no time for this. Despite the biting cold of the harsh winter mountain, Spencer’s face and back were already damp with sweat.
About ten steps away, the cow that had been sitting quietly suddenly stood up. Spencer’s eyes, raised in surprise, trembled.
“Oh, don’t come.”
The fist-sized rock on the ground shattered into pieces as the cow’s hoof struck it. The large and bulky body of the cow, moving, felt threatening. Spencer barely managed to control his trembling body, preparing to run at full speed.
Spencer’s muscles swelled and split, ready to burst as if he could spring forward at any moment. The cow stood in front of Spencer again, ready to run, even though Spencer was putting all his strength into his body so that he could escape at any moment.
The sword at Spencer’s waist was unlikely to fulfill its function. Could it pierce through that thick leather? Spencer couldn’t think of any other way than to escape. Even if he raised his head, all he could see was the large jaw of the cow.
Trying to think calmly and rationally about how to cope with this situation, Spencer, whose muscles were bulging with tension, was again faced with the cow. The cow sat down again in front of Spencer.
“What… what is this?”
The cow, which had been snorting in dissatisfaction, hit the ground with its tail as if whipping it. Spencer stared blankly at the beaten ground for a moment when the cow, as if frustrated, nudged him with its nose.
Just a nudge and Spencer tumbled over, hitting his buttocks on the ground. The cow, which had been watching Spencer fall, slowly turned its body.
As if suggesting Spencer to ride on its back, the cow turned its body towards him. Spencer, trying to make rational sense of how to cope with this situation, was surprised by the cow’s behavior.
“What… is it asking me to ride?”
Whether the cow understood Spencer’s words or not, it vigorously shook its head more violently than before. Spencer, watching the cow shake its head, rose to his feet.
With its belly lowered and back arched, the cow looked at Spencer as if encouraging him to climb on. Although Spencer wasn’t sure how the situation had turned out like this, he felt a strong conviction that he should mount it.
Spencer closed his eyes once and opened them. His pupils were calm without a hint of wavering, showing he had made a decision.
In a single leap, Spencer mounted the tall back of the cow, grabbing onto its smooth fur tightly. Prepared, Spencer signaled with confidence, and the cow rose its massive body.
The cow stood tall, shaking off the dust from its fur as it rolled its feet, the ground folded beneath it. Creak, creak. It seemed like it was going to run with all its might. Sensing this, Spencer, like a jockey on a racehorse, lowered his body significantly.
With each crossing of the cow’s legs, the ground folded, and the cold air whipped Spencer’s hair into disarray.
* * *
Morrison’s waist folded in half with a violent cough.
Squeezing his body as if internal organs were about to pop out, Morrison spat out coughs, and blue mucus dripped from his mouth.
“Damn it… Why… Why.”
In intense agony, Morrison dropped to his knees and sat on the ground.
Without wiping the flowing blood and clutching his head, Morrison’s hands, unlike before, had fingers intact.
It felt as if insects were crawling along the blood vessels, gnawing at the nerves.
Morrison gripped his head so hard he thought he might rip his scalp off, but the throbbing headache never let up.