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233 Dead Red Dragon

 Sakasugi is a red dragon.

Or, as one would put it, was.

Being a red dragon-the greediest and most arrogant draconic species amongst all five shades of dragon, Sakasugi was basically the standard template of evil dragons depicted in knight novels.

It was obsessed with plundering the treasures of humans and every other sentient race, and would incinerate its victims and villages whenever it felt like it, oppressing weaker beings and enslaving them so that they would plunder even more treasure or anything that interest them.

Such rampant vice naturally drew discontent. When Sakasugi's havoc finally affected humans too severely-or as one would say, the needs of the gods whom the humans worshipped, they took action.

The boundary between the Prime Material Plane and the divine realm was not as sturdy as it was today compared to Sakasugi's active years. Even though it was costly for the gods to cross over, they could at least manifest their true forms in the mortal realm, something that they were unable to do in the present.

Still, descending on the mortal realm directly to slap a red dragon would cost the gods more than what they could gain, which was why the god that Sakasugi provoked chose one of his believers, conferring him the title of Chosen One and bestowed upon him a portion of his divine power.

The god then sent forth an oracle that guided the Chosen One to obtain a divine dragon-slaying weapon, after of which he found Sakasugi in his lair and stabbed him to death like the protagonist of an isekai novel, after of which he took home the dragon's treasure and returned as a hero in human legends.

"I see. I was already dead..."

Sakasugi opened its rotten eyelids, but its eyeballs were already gone.

The frightening strength of the dragon was still there even after death. Moreover, Sakasugi had died in a lofty mountain-though not frozen, the decaying process was exceedingly slow that less than half of its body had decomposed!

Aside from softer parts such as the eyes rotting off, it was still rather complete in other departments.

That naturally gave Sakasugi greater strength and defense than skeleton dragons!

"Even so, this familiar energy that flows in my body definitely isn't magic... There is no telling its essence, but it must have freed me from the shackles of death and allowed me to awaken from the darkness."

Sakasugi found it unusual. By logic, its soul should have been claimed by the God of Death after it was slain, and it shouldn't have maintained its self-awareness after so long had passed.

"Come to think of it... which god was it that the human who killed me believed in?"

Bemused, Sakasugi felt as if it had forgotten something very important-but with its brain having long since rotted, it naturally couldn't remember what it had forgotten.

The reality was that Sakasugi's mind would have been blank even though it was revived if not for the resemblance between the soulfire of dragons and the divinity of the gods which held memories to a certain extent. Otherwise, it would know nothing and would only wreak havoc by instinct.

But before Sakasugi's mind cleared, its resurrection had heightened temperatures around itself, melting the piling snow on the peak and causing tremendous avalanches. The landslide continued downwards, dragging mud and stone in its weak that destroyed the villages by the foot of the mountain.

"Humans. So puny regardless of eras." Sakasugi thought even as it watched as everything unfolded.

And soon enough, human soldiers armed to the teeth advanced towards the peak, and immediately found the resurrected creature.

One must mention here that in appearance alone, the draconic might of the half-rotted Sakasugi was still palpable, not to mention that it looked as vile as it looked grotesque. As it stood on the slope at the mountain's peak where the landslide just occurred, it absolutely looked the part of an evil Superboss.

Naturally, the human soldiers-sacred corps of the Temple of Glory had attacked Sakasugi first, and were wiped out just as naturally. One certainly shouldn't be fooled by the zombie dragon's pathetic appearance, because Sakasugi was still much more powerful than most other dragons despite how it looked now.

And after slaying those humans, Sakasugi cast one of the few spells available to it after its zombification, raising their relatively complete corpses as undead creatures. Then, from the conversation with them that started with 'My Lord, the times hath changed', the red dragon received some information about the current era.

It appeared that there had been another divine war after its death, with an empty gap wedged into the civilizations of almost all sentient races as a new era dawned.

And from then onwards, no gods ever came to the Prime Material Plane-there was even a different God of Death now.

What was more, the ability of those accursed gods to bless humans had weakened as well, a piece of news that was undoubtedly a surprise delight for Sakasugi.

"I see... with the gods unable to descend here, I am one of the most powerful creatures in this world. Is this why I was revived-to use my power?" Sakasugi couldn't hold back a ferocious grin before rearing its head towards the skies and roared. Everything from rotting chunks of flesh and pus was rolling off it even as it moved but it couldn't sense anything at all... aside from the immeasurably joy in its heart.

'Hahaha! You fellows who call the shots up in your might perches! How wonderful that every last one of you ended up like me-nothing more than dust in the pages of history!'

"I don't know who revived me or their purpose in doing so, but I'm not going to be someone else's puppet!" Sakasugi the Red declared. "I shall reclaim my domain from this day forth!"

But before it could completely oversee its present domain, another bunch of humans had come to die.

That being said, they were not like those human soldiers before who called themselves believers of the God of War-the sacred crops at least had a uniform set of metal armor and appeared to be armed in every way possible. Each of them appeared to have awakened their combat auras as well, and would have made a fine squadron even in the previous eras.

And yet, the second batch of humans was wearing a variety of equipment, with most of them adorning incomplete sets of armor. For example, one of them was wearing a thick steel plate over his chest and spittoon-shaped helms over his head, and yet he was wearing a kilt for his lower half that exposed his hairy legs, a stinging sight to the eyes-even though Sakasugi didn't have any eyes.

Others were actually wearing headgear that resembled a fish's head that looked absolutely laughable, and Sakasugi had the feeling that this bunch might have come to kill it by making it laugh to death.

"You have insulted me-the great red dragon, Sakasugi!" It bellowed, even as it slapped several humans to death which prompted them to cry out (Marni's dead again!). "Is that all you've got!? Come then, have at me!"

But as soon as it finished bellowing, it noticed more of those ragtag bunch of misfits swarming towards itself from beneath the mountain, surrounding it like an army of ants.

Being surrounded by over a hundred humans wasn't a problem for Sakasugi, but what really troubled him is the look in their eyes even as they leered at his gruesome body.

Those were leering of unmatched greed, as if they had found treasure.