When the great dragons Agamu and Yakov emerged from their frozen lair at the bottom layer and rushed to the central assembly hall, what they found was a scene straight from hell.
Torn limbs and ripped flesh were strewn all about, the snow-white ice stained blue with blood. The fallen bodies of eight dragons lay scattered across the hall, either decapitated or disemboweled. Every one of them had died horribly, and clearly with great suffering before the end.
There were organs spilling out and body parts missing, heads and limbs lopped off, scales torn out by some enormous force beholding the mangled corpse of one of the dragons, the elder white dragon Agamu suddenly gave a great roar, while Yakov closed its eyes, its face a mask of rage.
Dragonkind was already a rare breed, such that even if there arose any animosity between the dragons themselves, at most there would only be some talk perhaps about differences in seniority. To ancient dragons such as Agamu and Yakov, feelings still mattered. The bodies that lay before them now were those of brothers and sisters, relatives and descendantshow could they not be furious, anguished?
It was only at this moment that the two dragons turned their attention to the dark-haired warrior standing amidst the carnage: mounted astride a black horse, Joshua coldly regarded the enraged dragons. Wiping away some blue dragon blood from his eyes, there was the hint of a smile on his face.
In his hands he held a black-and-gold great-axe and a silver-white greatsword, both weapons covered in blue blood. The serrated teeth which had been hidden along the edges of the axe-heads, soaked in blood, had become as clear as day, a dark luster shimmering upon them.
"Here come two more, rushing to their doom."
Hearing the warrior's words, seeing his weapons, and having determined that he was the cause of this catastrophe, Agamu had absolutely zero interest in conversation. Seething vehemently, with each great breath that it took, its scales, muscles, and the magical ability that was its birthright became ever tougher, ever stronger. White dragon scales glimmered gray like steel, pale blue eyes gradually turned a crimson red, and all other thoughts and emotions were consumed by the blaze of its fury.
Drawing strength from its rage, the dragonalready a mighty beast who stood like a great edifice of white marblebecame even more fearsome, like a titanic engine of war.
What separated dragonkind from other beasts was their intellect: interacting with various civilizations over the years, their draconic magic was passed down to humans and elves, while the art of forging with magical fire was shared with the dwarvesyet similarly, the dragons had learned the capabilities of each of the races and now, it was apparent that Agamu was using a heavily modified version of berserk rage.
Behind it, Yakov began chanting in accompaniment. All of a sudden the magic in the air began coursing violently, with power greater than could have been summoned by all the eight dragons from earlier combined, and then five or six boons were instantly bequeathed upon itself and Agamu, including the 'Will of Steel'a magic which allowed coherent thought even during a berserk rage.
Dragons were Extraordinary-tier beings, gifted in both might and magic. Their gargantuan bodies held the potential for terrifying strength, and this overpowering physical ability also helped to enhance their will and spirit, granting them a greater command over magic.
Both these aspects combinedthis was the meaning of true might.
Whether warrior or mage, those of dragonkind far exceeded their counterparts in other races, even when they were supposedly at the same leveland their actual performance in combat was far beyond reach. Eight centuries ago, during that chaotic period at the beginning of the Starfall Era, the nations had yet to be formed, the races yet to unite. Dragons and countless draconic beasts soared in the sky and galloped across the land. The challenges they encountered included accidents, armies, conflict, and natural disasters. In the rise of nations which followed, the dragons exterminated no small amount of countrieseven some of the weaker races, such as the divine avatar of the lizardmen, was destroyed in a combined assault.
These two draconic championsalthough unable to boast of the same violent conquests as their ancestorswhere it came to power, they were not the least bit inferior. In the span of a few breaths, their presences had become overwhelmingly powerful, while remaining in perfect sync with one another.
"Finally, two who are worthy of me."
However, even as Joshua bore witness to all this, he did not appear to be the slightest bit nervous. He merely raised an eyebrow, his expression no longer one of total boredom; rather he was nodding eagerly. "Pity, only two."
Such poor sportjust the two of you alone will not be enough to quench my bloodthirst.
Ready for action, he hopped off of his warhorse, and then, all alone and wielding his great-axe and greatsword, he advanced towards these two great beasts whose presence and power completely surpassed that of other dragons.
As a warhorse, Black was unable to withstand Joshua's intensity in combat, so whenever he needed to bring his full power to bear, the warrior would dismount. Now that it had recently awakened some more of the latent potential of its bloodline, a typical battle was manageable, but not in a full suit of armorand certainly not in a moment like this, when he could hold nothing back.
Now was the time to give it everything he had.
Seeing that this human had the gall to even approach them, Agamu stomped gravely on the ground, beating the air with wings as solid as steel. Its colossal body, nearly forty meters long, suddenly shot forward at a speed impossible for the eye to follow, charging headlong towards Joshua.
Even before it reached its quarry, a violent gale came rushing ahead of it, and the warrior's clothing flapped loudly in the wind.
And yet, in the face of what seemed like an unstoppable meteorthe dragon charging towards himJoshua's full concentration was upon his waist.
Around his waist, there were quite a few sharp spikes: each one was as long as his upper arm, its shape specifically intended to pierce through armor, its entire length coated with poison, and around its sharp tip were finely inscribed runes, invoking curses of corrosion and spell-breaking.
He quietly relaxed the grip of his right hand, and the greatsword began to fall. In that instant between the weapon leaving his hand and before it hit the ground, Joshua thrust forward with one hand, flinging out all the Dragonsbane Spikes.
A path of empty vacuum opened up ahead of each of the spikes, and they flew ahead even swifter than the dragon's charge, and with more vicious force. Cascading booms and white shockwaves criss-crossed through the assembly hallthen there was only a grunt, and the dragon halted its charge.
Its massive form, to which it owed its massive power, also made for a big and easy target. Agamu was not ignorant to how Dragonsbane Spikes were a foil to enormous creatures like itself; in fact, it was well aware as to how many dragons had fallen to concealed weapons such as this.
Even so, he adamantly took these attacks head on.
"Human, it seems you've thrown out your last trump card."
Having canceled his charge, Agamu now spoke in a halting voice, his use of the Common tongue stuttered with rage. The dragon's wings, breast, and forehead sported gaping, bloody wounds, black curses and tendrils of corrosion creeping outwards, deepening its injuries. Even as it clenched its muscles, blue blood came spurting out, but with its phenomenal self-healing ability and Yakov supporting him with magic from behind, he was able to remain at full combat ability.
In fact, he didn't seem to have been weakened in any way.
The effects of the poison, curses, and corrosion all dissipated beneath Yakov's continuous series of protective and curative magic. As a dragon who specialized in magic, and which was less accustomed to close-quarters combat, Yakov found it challenging to do battle in the cramped conditions of a dragon lair. Fortunately, it had its close friend and brother Agamu to stand before him, a white dragon which was extremely familiar with combat. Countless healing spells and boons were cast forth, without regard for spell contradiction or redundancyit just provided support ceaselessly, while secretly priming direct-attack spells.
Two dragons combined did not produce only twice the amount of powerit would not be so simple as that.
But Joshua never paid any heed to his opponent's words, as though he'd already foreseen that his attacks would be brushed aside, and had only thrown those spikes to check the dragon's advance
and stand exactly where he wanted it to.
The ice layer of the central assembly hall in the dragon's lair began to groan and quake, and the ice which had been strong enough to endure dragons in combat, was instantly shattered underfoot by the warrior, the sharp blades of the greatsword and great-axe grinding a trail across the surface of the ice, and in that moment before the dragon could respond, he leapt for Agamu's head.
this scoundrel thinks to cut me down?!
Faced with this never-before-seen dragon-slaying nemesis, and the obviously exquisite weapons he wielded, even Agamu had to yieldas tough as dragon scales were, they were no match for enchanted steeland surely a dragon-slayer would not be carrying any mundane weapon.
And so the dragon instantly threw up all its defenses: the magical shield inherent to dragonkind, its scales reinforced by berserk rage, a stone-skin effect provided by Yakov, an invisible force-field, electro-magnetic repulsion, and other spells along those lines. With the aid of its friend, Agamu was confident that it could withstand any kind of assault.
And once he'd deflected this strike, the time would come to crush this human into paste with a single blow!
But in the next instant, it realized that it had been mistaken.
The human did not intend to slash with the blades at all!
"Down you go, fool!"
The two massive steel weapons, with Joshua swinging them as though they were two great hammers, came crashing down heavily upon the dragon. In that one move, whatever spell shields, stone-skin, or magical armor were all broken instantaneously. The magic immunity which came from being a Descended God was not just for defenseit was also invaluable on the offense.
Agamu's heart flooded with panic. It felt an incredible force, concentrated upon two Extraordinary-Tier weapons, pinning down its talons and forcing it to kneel. Before it could catch itself, the great dragon fell sprawling to the ground, and as it twisted its body around, it was submerged into the ice.
Immediately a torrent of powder-snow and ice-flakes came loose. Joshua pushed the attack, dodging aside, breaking through the ice, and bringing the axe down upon the dragon.
The dragon began to retaliateit had only been staggered at the beginning, but it could still fight back. However, with the ice all around it, and considering the enormous size of its body, its reaction speed was a little slower now, having just taken a full blow from the warrior. Beneath that immense force, the scales cracked on the dragon's right claw, flesh harder than steel was cut clean through, and bone shattered into countless splinters.
At the same time, the ice which formed the floor of the assembly hall broke apart completely and collapsed, and the dragon fell down into the deeper levels of the lair.
This, too, was exactly as Joshua intended!