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237 The Premature Demise of the Dead Red Dragon

 Did anyone have this feeling before?

When you noticed a cockroach in the corner of a room and you picked up a sandal or rolled up a magazine as you carefully approached it, bent on killing that uninvited guest with a single strike, the cockroach suddenly turned around and agilely lunged at your face?

It was as if the bug was saying 'Surprise! This is how I'm making my escape!'

Now, imagined that were a swarm of said cockroaches rapidly climbing up your body without you knowing-a scene only too fitting in a horror movie.

That was what Sakasugi, the Dead Red Dragon was going through right now.

Under Edward's command, many Players had given up on their strategy on using skills to chip off the dragon's by force and were attempting to climb on to the creature's body, hanging on to it while searching for a weak spot.

And like a person who had cockroaches crawling all over them, Sakasugi kept shaking its body vigorously while roaring deafeningly.

To the ears of those scouts from other churches too afraid to get an inch closer to the battle and only lingering at the edge, all of them assumed that the ragtag army had finally angered the zombie dragon and that the beast was now serious about killing them all.

But to the Players, Sakasugi's roars were no different from the hysterical screams of a human whose face was crawling with cockroaches.

Being a prideful Red Dragon, Sakasugi never had a single human make it near its own body, and certainly never experienced a swarm of them climbing up every nook and cranny of its body, unaffected by its Dragon Might.

Having never experienced such a thing in the centuries that it had lived, it was becoming flustered.

Moreover, the Players who climbed up on it were making new discoveries.

Dragons truly had incredibly durable bodies-only the softer parts inside Sakasugi's body had rotted away even though it was dead for over a thousand years, while hard places like its scales were no different from before.

Be that as it may, be it a side-effect or some other reason after its zombification, the Dead Red Dragon's muscles and skins were showing signs of rot.

As the saying goes: 'hair could only grow out of skin', the dragon's scales were growth that formed over its skin, and was basically sticking to its skin and muscles.

Since most Players' skills were striking it with external attacks before it, each hit would be completely stopped by the dragon's scales since most of the body was still intact.

No matter what skills they were casting, what actually hits the zombie dragon's body was whatever concussive force remaining from the skill itself after it was blocked by the dragon's skills, and because undead were mostly immune to physical attacks, it was almost ineffective against the Dead Red Dragon.

And yet, the Players who climbed up its body realized that such a defensive mechanism wasn't omnipotent-all they had to do was find a spot where the skin was rotting, and they could use their bare hands to rip out the scale growing over it!

Without the scale interfering, what they were attacking was no other than the decaying flesh of a dragon. Their skills would strike a wound hard and deep into the creature and directly cause devastating damage!

One should know that in the Players' fight against the zombie dragon that lasted over a day, the damage they could inflict were only mandatory -1 HP. Only Gou Dan's AWM and Joe's Giant Toe could penetrate the beast's defense effectively, causing two-digit damage!

The Players were spurred on greatly when they realized that, and tried all they could to pry off more scales and unleash barrages of attacks upon the rotten dragon flesh, seemingly to vent their frustration after being unable to penetrate the dragon's defenses while being bullied by the Dead Red Dragon in every manner possible.

"It really works..."

Even Edward, who was organizing the daredevil assault was surprised by the tremendously effective strategy. He was just testing a theory after all, and didn't actually hold too much hope about the strategy itself. "So this is the right tactic after all!"

Meanwhile, despite being unable to see its own HP bar like the Players, Sakasugi was definitely feeling that the 'life' within its body was fading under the mortals' attack.

A feeling of grief hence arose in its draconic soul... no one had insulted dragons like this before!

Hence, firmly holding back its proud nature and yielding to shame, Sakasugi rolled around like a donkey-something that it wouldn't have done in life, just to crush the Players crawling over its body to death.

It was a trick most uncouth, but there was no doubting its effectiveness: many Players were unable to react in time and crushed into mincemeat, temporarily stopping the dire moment for Sakasugi.

"You disrespectful, damned and lowly humans! I've remembered your scent now! I won't be merciful next time-I'll kill every last one of you!"

With that curse, Sakasugi spread its massive wings that were laden with holes, intent on retreating for now and recover, familiarizing itself with its body's condition before returning and have the damned humans get a taste of their own medicine.

***

One should note here that the holes on its wing membranes would not affect its flight.

In this world without Newton, true dragons differed from pseudo dragons (such as wyverns) in that their flight never relies on their wings which doesn't match up to their size. Instead, those dragons had a passive magical ability and their wings were merely a conduit of that ability, and they would be able to fly even if bones were all that was left.

But just as the Dead Red Dragon rose to the air, a clear gunshot interrupted Sakasugi's escape-its entire left wing was blasted clean off its joint and its massive body smashed into the ground, kicking a terrible quake that threw off many Players who were still holding on to its body!

On a large tree far away, Gou Dan who had contributed with a single shot whistled in awe.

"Luckily, the others managed to pry off the scales of those big wings... oh, my contribution rose to one percent instantly? I see... but isn't that simply a percentage of total damage caused?" Even as he exclaimed in amazement, Gou Dan had already put away his AWM and leaped off the tree while searching for a new sniping point.

Having been blasted sky-high by the devil Nightcry previously, he had understood the basic strategies of being a sniper all by himself.

And unsurprisingly, the outraged Dead Red Dragon had vaporized the tree where he had been hiding with its Dragon Breath right after it left.

After that, the seesaw battle between the Players and the Dead Read Dragon lasted over another two hours.

In the end, even as the Players who were still hanging on to Sakasugi's body were yelling things at each other about things like 'The dragon scales pulled off with Butcher or Dissect won't vanish! And it's a Purple item!', 'Hurry up, hurry up!', 'Marni dropped into the dragon's stomach from a hole in its flesh!' or 'You've come to slay a dragon too, what a coincidence!', Sakasugi slowly dropped to the ground in infinite frustration and hate, the throbbing fire of its dragon soul slowly fading from its chest and vanishing...