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About
Book of the Past:
I originally got into gaming when my brother broke his collarbone from a stupid skateboarding stunt my father allowed him to do ("Hey, son, won't it be cool if you hold onto the back of my car as I drive around town!?"). As a get well soon gift, my parents bought him a NES, from which his gaming days began. Me, I just enjoyed watching him play, mostly RPGs until I tried them myself eventually. My first game was Dragon Quest and I remember quitting shortly after the first dragon killed me. lol

Since then, though, I have enjoyed games for multiple reasons, mostly because I love stories and characters...and games are the perfect way for me to experience the hard work and strife that the characters have to go through. It's fun and I feel like I can play a part in their story. It's a much better story than mine.

My favorite RPGs of the past are (in no certain order):

Chrono Trigger
Xenogears
Shadow Hearts 1 & 2
Baten Kaitos
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PSN ID:RekkaAlexiel
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I've recently scanned and made English translations of the newest chapter of the Drakengard manga "Shi ni Itaru Aka" or "Red Obtained by Death", Chapter 14, which you can find here: http://drakengard-3.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=57

Since the translations are in image form, I cannot post them all here, but here's the title page:









I was asked to translate the lyrics from “Kuroi Uta”, but since lyricist Kikuchi Hana also wrote this in complete katakana, it’s very difficult to make an exact translation. There are a few reasons why I am okay with this:

1) Like poetry, song lyrics need not be completely coherent and they can break from traditional norms of grammar.

2) Simply by using all katakana like this it conveys the sense of an old language, or perhaps even the language of angels or gods.

3) Somethings are not meant to be fully understood, but rather felt or experienced. It is what it is and holds no room for explanation. There is a sense of beauty in ambiguity.

So with that said, please note that this is my personal interpretation from the bits that can be understood from the lyrics on the page. There is no official English translation, so it is illogical to claim one interpretation is THE correct meaning; that’s the whole point of interpretation–it cannot be wrong but simply viewed differently from another perspective. In that case, all interpretations are viable.

Therefore, here is my interpretation of the song:

Everything exposed
The song shall meet its doom
Becoming and killing the monster

All stolen away
The music as needles
As I’m reborn again, alone

Spreading my wings I soar with death
Love shall spring from the darkest of white
When or how distantly may it be heard
How sweetly they whisper, the wings of the past

The black flower
Is the voice
With just its shattered eye

The black flower
Is the song
With just its made-up dance
There be purpose

Everything exposed
The song shall freeze over
I shall dance in nightmares that day

With nothing I break away from death
Emerging from a crimson forest
Pregnant with the tainted children of dread
This pitiful memory is ripped away

The black flower
Is the voice
With just its prayer of blood

The black flower
Is the song
With just a day of repentance
All shall disappear

This disaster
Shall wait and fall
For the time it shatters, to dream

As this repeats
We go our separate ways
You shan’t be forgiven, flower of song,
In the final moment


Originally posted by Rekka Alexiel here:
http://drakengard-3.com/blog/2014/01/26/kuroi-hana-an-interpreted-translation/










Here's the 2nd editorial column by creative director Yoko Taro.  Sorry for the delay in translating this article.  I had a bunch of events this weekend that kept me busy.  This was originally posted on drakengard-3.com.

__________________________________________________________________________

Hello, I’m Yoko Taro.  Can you hear me?  Alright.

So, this time I’m going to talk about “Making a Character”.  Well, I suppose since we’re going to think about a character who has neither hopes nor dreams, so it may be better if you don’t read this column.  Okay?  Is that alright?  Well, even if it’s not, I’m going to continue.

The absolutely first thing that must be dealt with when creating a character in an Action RPG is the cost.  Cost—.  Money.  Ahh!  That was the sound of your hopes and dreams being blown away!  Even so, the story must go on!

If we were to only create characters we liked, we’d seriously run into some grave problems.  For example, if we were to make a new Suikoden game, even if we created all 108 of the characters, it would be impossible to make the models for all of them.  Events would be cluttered with too many characters on the screen, plus we’d have to create unique faces for each of them; therefore, it would be best if we just killed off at least 90 of those characters……  Simply put, the more characters you have, the more expensive it’s going to get.

That being said, generally in action based games, there are all sorts of enemy characters in which you don’t necessarily see their faces, like those wearing masks.  It’s okay to create a sense of mystery from masked enemies.  It would be even better for these character to cover their mouths, like a ninja.  Since lining up a character’s mouth with verbal speech is such a task, it would be better if we couldn’t see their mouths moving at all.

Then what about those characters that aren’t human but have a monster-like form?  We wouldn’t have to give them specific facial expressions, right?  It may be better, but that in-and-of-itself becomes a problem.  For example, if we have an insect that has reversed-joint appendages, it would be a difficult job for the motion designers.  Likewise, if we have insects with wiggling antennas and a bunch of unnecessary appendages, all of those things need to move.  Trying to animate a boss enemy like a giant centipede would mean certain death. That's why the huminoid figure is much more cost efficient.  No, actually the most cost efficient form would probably be a floating sphere.

Then we have to worry about clothing and other troublesome things.  Anything that might impede movement like a long skirt or a men's hakama are absolutely out.  Additionally, short hair styles are preferred.  If it were at all possible, full-body tights or a sort of clothing that would stick tightly to the character's skin and no hair would be preferable.  As far as character designs go, this is the worst but let's take a break for a moment.

Well, although the mood is rather gloomy, we still need to save on cost.  As a battle action game, we need large bosses, but there is also a device for this.  There's no avoiding the rising costs from designing different bosses with unique movements all the time.  That's why we need to change some body parts, the color, or even change the movement to something that could be shared between multiple bosses.  Also, since any game needs bosses, we have to come up with a clever solution with the programming.  Money, money, money……  Simply put, bosses mean money.  Have you ever thought, "What?  You just changed the color."  From the perspective of the developers who know the sorrow that comes with making short to medium length games, they may say, "Yes, you're right……"  This is why there is no way to see the result of our labors without tears.

So because of this, I often develop my characters by designing the monsters first.  We need to decide on how many bosses we need for however many stages.  I'd really like to have a boss for every stage, but there just isn't enough money to do that.

Then, the next thing we need to plan are the events.  How long do we work on multiple events……  Well, since I mess up this estimate every time, I can't say too much about it, but in the end we may or may not be able to fit in the entire scope of the event.  Plus, the only character who can wrap up these events has to be the main character.
I'm only saying this here, but actually, when we were working on DOD1, we failed on making many of the events.

We originally planned to have 6 partner characters referred to as "Contracts", but it would have been impossible to tell the story with that number of characters.  Since we couldn't fit descriptive FMVs into the camp segments like we wanted to, we had to forcefully change the wording, thusly cutting a large chunk out of the original script which made it necessary to add in supplementary explanations in text between missions……

But looking back now, text-based supplementary explanations also felt new……  Simply, at the time many people had pointed it out, we thought, "Ah!  So that was it!  This would have been junk if we had done that!"  I remember how earnestly we made modifications while scratching at our heads and refusing to give in.  No, actually, there are many things that we humans may understand if we try. (<---said in a monotone voice)

……Umm, yeah, hmm.  Any remaining money is usually used on the main character and other supporting characters, I guess.  Yeah, this is usually how I come up with characters and stuff like that stuff, yeah.








rologeass on Tumblr has been a great source of DOD information, news, and insight for a long time, and tonight he posted something quite interesting that piqued my interest: the meaning behind the name "Drakengard", the name given to the international version of the JRPG, Drag-on Dragoon.

First of all, I think it is important to point out the significance of the original title as it is displayed graphically:



As you can see in this image, the way the text is displayed with a line through the empty space between the words "drag" and "on" seems like a clever way to both match and differentiate between the words "dragon" and "dragoon". The katakana "doragguon" (ドラッグオン) could also be a variant of the more typical word in Japanese for dragon ("doragon" ドラゴン), and could more closely relate to the actual English pronunciation of the word.

Now, why the original title "Drag-on Dragoon" was not adopted for the international release is simply because of the "uncool" sound of it. Although the Japanese title as it is may sound fine to the native Japanese ear nor does it carry this odd stigma; however, it is simply common sense that a title international audiences may not react positively toward would need to be changed. Thusly, the title "Drakengard" was decided upon.

For the longest time, I really disliked this name, mostly because of my purist mindset when it comes to translations. I, more often than not, would rather keep the original title no matter how silly it may sound in my own language. I would rather leave the name as it is than try to translate it and lose some of its aesthetic meaning.

But over the years, the name has grown on me, considerably. So much now that I feel more comfortable using this title than awkwardly pronouncing it in Japanese. So much for the steadfast ways of the purist!

So let's take a closer look at the meaning behind this name--DRAKENGARD--and some of its variants:


DRAKEN:
====================================================
"Draken" is a male name meaning "dragon" in Greek or "male duck" in English. People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated. It is also a delta-winged fighter jet.


DRAGON:
====================================================
According to Wikipedia, the English word "dragon" comes from the Latin "draconem" meaning "huge serpent, dragon," and the Greek word "drakon" meaning "serpent, giant selfish".


DRACONIS:
====================================================
Draconis, or "Draco", is a Latin variant which means "dragon". It is a constellation in the far northern sky.

Interesting account of "draconis" associated with the number of the beast, 666.  The angel Michael also makes an appearance in this story.


GARD:
====================================================
According to his blog, rologeass suggested that this is a reversed reading of "drag" from the original title.  This is a clever realization; however, I believe it goes far beyond the backward rearrangement of letters.

"Gard" is a MALE name, variant of Gardner (Middle English, which means "keeper of the garden". Gard is also a FEMALE name of Norse origin, which means "enclosure, stronghold".

(The somewhat related female name, Hildagard, which means "battle stronghold" and Ermengard, which means "complete, universal", both in Old German.)

Here is some more information about "gard" as stated by Ultem:
====================================================
It sounds like 'garden', doesn't it? And the translation given by you supports this. So, let's have a look at Bosworth and Toller. They don't have it. But that's only Anglo-Saxon.

Perhaps you think of a different Saxon dialect. So let us search 'ad fontes': We find it in a dictionary for the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) as a Old Saxon word linked to PIE 'garda' – garden.

Now that we proved it is closely linked to 'garden', we can look up this word etymologically:

'Old Northern French gardin, diminutive (cf. Vulgar Latin hortus gardinus) or oblique form of *gard (cf. Old French jart), from Old Low Franconian *gardo 'fenced in yard, garden' (compare Dutch gaarde, gaard), from Proto-Germanic *ǥarđōn (compare West Frisian gard, Low German Gaarn, German Garten), from *ǥarđaz 'yeard'. More at yard.'

Although we can't prove that those words have a direct etymological connection following this article, I doubt anyone will question its close common features.
====================================================



DRAGOON:
====================================================
As stated by an article on Wikipedia, a dragoon is the name given to those who were trained in horse riding and fighting skills. The name could have been derived by the firearm, called a dragoon, carried by the dragoons of the French Army. There is also no distinction between the words "dragon" and "dragoon" in French, as they are both referred to as "dragon".


In Conclusion...
====================================================
So what do you think? Were you originally happy with the international title "Drakengard" or were you a little upset? Or do you really not care either way? xD Voice your thoughts and ideas here! :D

I like to think the Greek male name "draken" and the Norse female name of "gard" come together to form the title of DRAKENGARD. This is *perfect* given the fact that the dragons within this series have been said to be neither male nor female. Plus, this meaning would put the dragons in the center stage spotlight as opposed to the other main characters like Caim, Nowe, or even Zero.

Also, the French word for both "dragon" and "dragoon" as being one and the same is extremely interesting when you think about the contract between both parties.  In DOD1, the contract somehow joins the souls of the dragon rider or "dragoon" with the dragon, in a way forging a new soul with two separate bodies.  The Dragon and the Dragoon are one and the same.  Ooooh!

In review, I'd like to think the complete meaning behind the title Drakengard means "Stronghold of Dragons".  Other variants could mean "Garden of the Serpent", which alludes to the story of the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Adam & Even (humans) by the Serpent (dragon or devil).  Hmmm!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Rekka Alexiel on: 
http://drakengard-3.com/blog/2014/01/15/the-meaning-behind-the-name-drakengard/



Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drakengard
http://www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/draken
http://bit.ly/1hmK5UB
http://www.meaning-of-names.com/search/index.asp?nm=dragon&stype=1
http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Gard
http://www.ourbabynamer.com/meaning-of-Gard.html
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100919190906AAxQlV4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragoon
http://rologeass.tumblr.com/








The 1/23 issue of Famitsu features the first of four editorial columns by creative director Yoko Taro detailing his thought process to creating his unique, best-selling games.  It was just one page in the magazine, but it still took me and my pathetic translation skills nearly all night to translate.  Talk about depressing.  But I hope it’s somewhat accurate enough to enjoy reading. ;)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Drag-on Dragoon 3 Creative Director
Yoko Taro’s “Bad Thought Process” (1 of 4)

Creative mind behind the Drag-on Dragoon and Nier Gestalt/Replicant series breaks down how he came to create the characteristic hit series in this 4-part semi-regular column. 

“Why do I enjoy games in which you kill other people?”

Hello, everyone.  My name is Yoko Taro.  Although I’m usually making games, drinking, or sleeping, I had the opportunity to write this 4-part column for Famitsu thanks to our fated connection.

Even though it often seems like I only make games in the Action RPG genre, this new title, “Drag-on Dragon 3″ depicts the story of a girl brutally slaughtering countless soldiers, blood flying everywhere, as she dashes about.  It’s a pretty common idea for a game, but just imagine if this actually occurred in the world we live in.  For example, if a young high school girl with a knife was at the main crosswalk in Shibuya and she suddenly started killing people.  That would instantly become breaking news, wouldn’t it? An event of such severity would certainly be covered in the news for days.

Usually, killing another person becomes a huge problem.  But, if it’s in a game, it doesn’t matter who you kill.  It’s quite common to avoid actually saying your killing somebody by changing the wording to  things like “seal” or “purify”, “win against” or even “hunt”. There are also those out there who say, “Aren’t there also peaceful type games?”, but if you take a closer look, even within those games the structure type of “being better than someone else, becoming rich, or to survive” is quite prevalent.  It’s the same thing in our society.  Whether it be in school, at work, or within a given country, people will generally stand up against adversity.

We humans have conquered the world by “winning against others”.  That’s why we may think it’s a good thing on a visceral level to win against or defeat somebody.  Often times people prefer violent aspects over more peaceful ones.  Weapons are also a part of this.  Have you ever thought, ‘How did people come to think that “katanas” were the cooler tool to kill people over a peaceful kitchen knife?’ or ‘Why are military aircraft more fascinating than ordinary jumbo jets?’  ……Maybe you’ve never thought of this before…… But whatever, let me go on.  The reason why we are attracted to weapons is because of their “strength”.  We apply this strength to ourselves and thusly feel the need to protect ourselves or even defeat someone else.  The design of the weapon is to awaken this desire.

Because for the living beings, “strength” is a form of justice.

So, what if gaining strength wasn’t the main goal…  In other words, if there are no violent elements, what would happen then?  Things such as sports are said to be “healthy” practices.  In the end it is only a discriminatory system that produces winners and losers.  If you want to achieve true equality, you have to compete against others from the very beginning.  You become strong, defeat many others, and eventually come out on top.  Those guys have it all.  When I see athletes, F1 drivers, or pro golfers get married to beautiful broadcast journalists or other beautiful celebrities, I sometimes think, “Ahh!  If I could have just been good at sports, maybe I could have been popular, too!  How mortifying!” but, that’s just the way it is.  Biologically, it’s great.  It can’t be helped!  (I say this as I cry tears of blood)

I got a little off topic. I get carried away when I start talking about popular guys.  Um, what were we talking about……?  Oh, right.  Something about “humans are creatures who want to subdue others once they gain power.”  However, there arises a problem. What if everyone gained power and proceeded to kill and pillage as they liked?  Right. As you can imagine, the legend of the Masters at the turn of the century would have been spun by the hand of our new Mohicans.  In order to avoid that the entire human race became a complete Mohican, people began providing certain rules in regard to overwhelm the others.

For example, if we’re talking about studying in school, you can brag about your higher grades over other classmates.  It doesn’t even matter if dropouts are created as a result or if people feel some sort of duty to help.

For example, if we’re talking about business, if profits are regarded as top priority, everything else will be neglected.  No one can blame those companies that seek to gain something when others go out of business.

For example, it is also possible for those to love one’s family and, in comparison, have no love for others.  It’s a bit discriminatory but no one thought it to be shameful.  People are able to discriminate against others very easily.

Even among those subjugated to discrimination, the worst act of crushing someone else has to be “murder”.  Things continue to happen among nations that somehow takes precedence over human life.  As well as war, there are many countries which execute the death penalty if one violates the law……Japan is one of them.  Even if these rules were not allowed, what would happen if, for example, a heinous robber was about to kill your family?  What if only way to save your family was to kill the robber first?

We are living beings which make it okay to kill others if given a valid reason.  However, we are rarely given a reason to kill others in today’s society.

This is where games come in.

Experiencing the freedom in games have may be the perfect tool to peruse the pleasure of “besting others”.  Additionally, you are perfectly free to kill others within the game. There are those who enjoy killing people within a game because “it’s only a game.”  I don’t know if it’s right or wrong to make a game that involves killing people.  Still, at the very least, I want to you to “doubt your own sense of justice through the making of a killing game”.  If we do not have doubt, we may find some “reason” and actually kill someone in reality…sometime…in the future…maybe.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally Posted on January 10, 2014 - 4:29 am (Japan Time) by Rekka Alexiel
http://drakengard-3.com/blog/2014/01/10/yoko-taros-bad-thought-process-1-of-4/








One of the items included in the Drag-on Dragoon 10th Anniversary Box was a nice compilation of character themed chapters, one chapter for each significant character (however, the Apostles do not have their own chapters, unfortunately).

Most of the chapters have thusly been translated by other uber-fans of the series, but it came to my attention that no one has had a hand in translating Michael's chapter yet.

I just published this chapter on my blog last night and will up a copy of it here as well. Here's a link to the chapter on my site: http://drakengard-3.com/blog/2014/01/05/michael-the-vanishing-ones/

**Also, please note that this chapter also comes with a warning!  There are bits in here that may be rather spoilerish in nature, so please read at your own risk!**



CHAPTER 6: MICHAEL
The Vanishing Ones

** Spoiler Warning!! **
It is recommended that you read this after playing the game!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Translation Notes:
I don't have much confidence in translation work, but I do love storytelling...since that's what I'm supposed to be good at even though I haven't even touched my story in about 2 years now...  But anyway, yeah.  This is my translation of the chapter that--as far as I know--has only been published in the novel that came with the 10th Anniversary Box. I apologize in advance if I've made any translation errors and for any extraneous extrapolations. :p

Throughout the chapter, Michael switches between several different words from himself, from “ore” at the beginning and then mostly “ware” later on. There’s not much of a big difference other than the nuance. “Ore” is generally used by younger men whereas “ware” is used by older, more experienced men. It has a much greater ‘ancient’ feeling to it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now that I realize it, there were always so many battles there.

Always, every time, I (ore)… No, I (ware) was always fighting. Whether sleeping or awake. Or even in my dreams.

It’s been so long now that I can’t seem to remember those far distant memories, how long I had been fighting, how many enemies I crushed under my feet and in my jaws. Not even why I was fighting. For so long.

* * * * * * * * * *

“You worthless insects! Die!”

It just took a single breath. With just the slightest breath of fire, the ugly color of the “insects” was set aflame in glowing light only to be returned to ash. There were so many weak enemies spread out in front of me, so pathetically weak for one of my noble lineage of dragons. None of them could possibly make a decent match for me, although nothing could quench that feeling it gave me, to utterly destroy those foolish beings—it was just what I needed to change my mood.

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon!!”

Once my flames had licked the surface of the ground clean, not even the slightest speck of dust was left behind. It was quite refreshing.

“My (ore) name is… No, my (ware) name is Michael, of the noble lineage of dragons—ugh!”

A wave of pain spread downward through my outstretched wings.

“Shit, there were marionettes, too?”

While a swarm of those disgusting insects crowded in upon me, I saw a brief glimpse of what appeared to be some sore of projectile weapon. These were not any ordinary insects for they commanded the intelligence necessary to use such a weapon. Actually, I hated it. What was the name of such a weapon……?

“Ahh, I don’t care what it’s called!! You annoying pests! Do you think you maggots of the earth could be a match for me!? Uhhhgah!”

Again a great wave of scorching pain spread down the full length of my wings, but this time there were many more of them.

“C’mon, just let me say it ‘til the end……ugh!”

In mere moments I found myself buried under the marionettes. No, it’s just that I had accidently found myself deep within the heart of their nest. And it seemed like they had all brandished weapons of considerable size. The marionettes came worked together to move a gigantic beast of a thing.

What was worse, it seemed only interested in me!

“T-This is bad……?”

Can I escape? No, no! There is no honor for a dragon to run from such vermin! But, this situation certainly is bad……

“What are you just sitting there for!” yelled an angry voice from my side. Glistening flames danced upon the giant’s blade and even engulfed some of the smaller marionettes as well.

“Always getting into trouble…” said the voice with a disgusted tone and red wings.

I think… No, he certainly helped me out of a sticky situation. The story of one helping a friend in need might be a little too lavish, but I suppose there is honor to be had in the mere act lending a hand, at least for us dragons.

“What are you doing with your mouth hanging wide open? Do you seriously want to die a pointless death?”

“S-shut up!”

Although he seemed to be my equal, that pompous attitude was more than I could bear. It was more than annoying.

“Hurry up and withdraw!”

“A-alright.”

This was the first time I met the Red Dragon.

* * * * * * * * * *

“Get up, Michael.”

I awoke to that voice. I must have somehow fallen asleep in the middle of battle. And to have dreamed about meeting the “meddling Red One” for the first time, no less!

“You’ve got some real guts, dozing off In the midst of battle.”

“Sh-shut up! I can finish these pests in one blow, even in my sleep!”

After that, I ended up fighting countless battles alongside that guy. I owed him so much, but now it’s difficult to remember that feeling of gratitude. That Red One…

And although he went and chose a name for me, he refused to be called by any such name. Most of the Old Ones were snobbish like that, not just the Red One.

If I asked the Red One about it, he would just say, “We do not have the custom of claiming names.” How should I know that?

I have no interest in being anything like them, those who refuse to claim a name for themselves or who can’t even make decent conversation, not to mention fighting with eyes like dead fish.

But it’s great fun to grow stronger from the experience of every battle. It seems gloriously honorific to display one’s own power. It’s so interesting to think of the most efficient way to decimate a large number of enemies. I’d hate it if I lost to an enemy, and I’d be sad if my friends got hurt. Isn’t it the same for them?

Whether they win or lose, no matter what happens right in front of them, they are always silent. I don’t want to be like that.

Exactly what do they find interesting about living like that?

“Don’t say such things, Michael. You will one day understand, when you have lived as long as we have.”

The Red One always concluded his stories like that. I hated how he always sounded like he knew everything, like he understood. And what’s the point in telling me that ‘I will understand when I get to be his age,’ anyway? He couldn’t have been born more than a couple thousand years before me.

There was something about that ferocious and brutal Black One that I just couldn’t get past; I didn’t like him. He seemed to be about the same age as the Red One, though. His random recklessness was hard to miss.

Like the other Old Ones, he also remained silent much of the time, with battles as the only exception. He especially liked strong individuals, which is probably why he completely ignored me when I tried to speak to him. What an annoying prick he is!

“You thinking again? It’s not bad to use your head, but there’s a time and place for everything.”

“Shut up!”

It’s not like I enjoy getting distracted in the middle of a fight. No, I know it’s probably the most dangerous thing to have happen. But, having somebody point that out was anything but interesting. So then I tried to change the subject.

“Hey, Red Guy. Do you have any idea when this war will end?”

All I intended to do was change the subject, but in its mere utterance , I realized just how long I had been wanting to ask it.

We had killed too many to count, so many countless deaths to form mountains of corpses and rubble rising into the sky. And it kept going on and on, without an end. One more enemy would always arise in the wake of the last.

What are we fighting against? No, we know what it is we’re fighting, I don’t mean that. Ah, it’s annoying, I can’t put it in words right.

“Michael, not even I know when this war began much less when it will end……”

His words were suddenly cut off and everything turned white.

* * * * * * * * * * *

“What the, it was a dream……”

What a strange dream, to have dreamed within a dream like that. Those days were so long ago.

“What’s wrong?” came a voice from my back.

“It’s nothing,” I replied to the solder riding on my back. He was of the species called ‘human’ that appeared after the war.

The war that I thought would never end for all eternity was suddenly over. Even though the survival of many species hung in the balance, I was thoroughly disappointed it ended so abruptly. The only thing that was destroyed was the very war itself.

And it was this scene that made it into my dreams.

My vision was clouded with white light before because it was some sort of catastrophic explosion. Exactly what kind of explosion it was or what caused it, I didn’t know the details. But its power was tremendous because it utterly wiped out every single enemy until nothing was left behind. Its reign of terror was so absolute that even the terrain below bore its scars in defiance.

Perhaps it was thanks to our strong, physical bodies and protective scales that helped our dragon species to survive, however, there were many others who did not. We lost more than half of our kind that day.

I days long past, the skies were filled with all colors of dragons, but now it is so uncommon for us to encounter another who matches our superior strength. The sky which should have felt like a small, narrow place became an expansive void that constantly reminded us of our fallen comrades. Although I knew both the Red One and Black One survived, I hadn’t seen either of them in a long time.

Conversely, the ground below seemed to become much narrower than it had been before. The world was filled to the brim with ‘humans’ and ‘demi-human’ –like monsters and beasts. With their surprising fertility, they easily put the propagation of the “insects” and “marionettes” to shame. Simply though, with great fertility, comes a rather short lifespan. And weakness. They tire easily and die quickly.

And even the man I carry upon my back will sooner or later perish like all those before him.

That’s right. Even though these people are so weak, they continue fighting and will continuously reach for their blade until their lives are further shortened. I cannot understand it. Maybe that’s why I felt the urge to fight alongside them.

“Michael.”

There was a slight shudder to the voice that came from my back. Was he scared? What a man is this, sounding like a frightened, little girl?

“I’m sorry for involving you in this.”

“Don’t misunderstand. I cannot be defeated by getting caught up in the affairs of a mere human. I was the one who decided to fight with you. Your trivial skirmishes are like a game to us dragons. Who do you think I am? We’ve battled together for this long, created mountains of corpses and garbage……”

I felt like he repeated the same words again, “I’m sorry.” This is what makes him human.

“Let’s go!”

We headed toward a fortress of rubble and lunged down upon it. All the soldiers packed along the castle walls were inevitably greeted with my flames……

* * * * * * * * * *

“Another dream.”

That last battle left the worst taste in my mouth. Maybe that’s why it’s popped up in my dreams. No, there always seems to be a bad aftertaste when I support humans in battle. Maybe it’s because they always seem to die before I do.

He was the same. In the end, he died apologizing and leaving those stupid words ‘I’m sorry’ for me to remember. What did he need to apologize for? I told him over and over not to repeat himself.

As the scattered corpses cooled, and silence fell upon the rocky mountain, I was stunned. It was so obvious that humans only live so long. Of course, I knew that. But it’s amazing that I still feel the sense of loss that day.

That was when he resurfaced, the Black One. After so many years, why did he have to show his face now, at such a bad time? He looked at me for an instant and then, without saying a word as usual, took to the sky and flew away. But it was his eyes that spoke to me, both mockingly and with mercy. It was as though they said to me, “You are very forgiving of the human heart.”

I knew that without it being said. Even if they win or lose a fight, humans die. They die so quickly. Even if victory is theirs, it is only a fleeting moment. In that case, how pointless is it for them to fight at all?

No, could that be it? Or is this just what it means to be human? Could it be that the fight of us dragons was not meaningless after all?

For such a long, long time I continued to fight and lost many friends. Thus looking back now, even those old guys seems so nostalgic.

If this war hadn’t happened, it would have been so boring hanging out with those guys, all silent and moody with nothing interesting ever happening.

Suddenly the words of the Red One came back to me.

Don’t say such things, Michael. You will one day understand, when you have lived as long as we have.

We weren’t that far apart in age, and yet he knew, he understood. By living a long life, it means losing... Loss, abandonment, solitude. Never obtaining a single thing…...

It was probably my hope somewhere deep inside to gain something from aiding the humans in their fight. For those with such a short life to pick up their weapons and fight, they must know something far greater than any of us long-living dragons have ever known before.

But, it was the same thing. No matter how many times it repeated, nothing remained. Nothing.

“Hello? Where is this place? Is anybody there?”

Before I knew it, everything had submerged into a deep darkness. There was no inclination of anything living or dead. There was just nothing.

“Is there……no one there?”

Pft. This is just a continuation of those stupid dreams, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter. I’ll just wake up soon anyway. Right in the middle of battle. Ahh, not another battle. Seriously, knock it off with all the battles and stuff. It repeats and it’s the same thing, over and over. Everything disappears in the end.

I guess that’s the same with everything, battles and dreams. Eventually everything fades away to nothing.

Everything is gone. Gone. Zero……

* * * * * * * * * *

“Owowow!”

Something from below wacked me in the jaw. This time for sure I was really awake.

“You are the worst to sleep with, all your tossing and turning…”

The one who kicked me was a human I had just met recently named Zero. She is an insensitive, violent, lazy, woman with an insatiable appetite and foul mouth. She also lacks any sort of fear of us dragons and often calls me “stupid.” Oh, boy…

And saying her sleeping posture is bad is an preposterous understatement. She kicks all the time and sleeps with her belly button hanging all out for everyone to see…... I thought I heard that humans detested sleeping like that.

But that’s what I find interesting. No matter how many people I meet, every one is different. I guess that is part of it, too. I can’t imagine there would be anyone else in this world who shares the same desire as she does: to kill her younger sisters.

Unfortunately though, I’m sure our time together will be short-lived. Soon this woman, like all the other humans before her, will abandon me. That is the one thing that will never change from the others who disappeared and blinked out of my life.

Just, I didn’t even mind. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. When she completes her mission and kills all of her sisters, I……

“I will keep that promise, I swear it. No matter what happens, I won’t back out. By my noble lineage of dragons, I—Oww! You kicked me again! Just for once, let me say the whole thing, through to the end…… “

“Zzzzzz…,” was the only sound that answered me. She’s certainly very good at falling asleep!

-sigh- Oh, well. This is also my pleasure.