Can you imagine how the feeling of all your skin splitting feels? Actually, let me reword that. Can you imagine the feeling of your moist skin gradually dying by gradually losing moist due to the high temperature then chapping before, finally, gradually peeling off? I don’t think there’s a single person who could imagine that, as you’ll no longer be paying attention to your skin when your skin is gradually splitting. When that happens, you’ll always pay attention to other parts of your body or scream. However, I had no means of screaming in the moment, for I was immersed in water.
I was completely submerged in water. It was impossible for me to make any vocal sounds, because if I did, I’d suffocate. All I could do was observe my skin peel off bit by bit. The pain nearly took my conscious from me, but the flowing water nearby and risk of drowning allowed me to barely maintain life. Further, my heart was still beating vigorously despite a long time having passed. I didn’t seem to suffocate. As soon as I opened my mouth, the enormous dragon’s blood would gush into my mouth. It would enter my mouth, run down my oesophagus and enter my gut, which made me feel as though my internal organs were set alight.
In spite of that, my heart didn’t lose strength. To the contrary, my heart beats gradually intensified. The fish around were attracted to my shed skin. There were even fish bold enough to swim over right next to me to eat the skin I shed. They surrounded me, but I was incapable of extending out my arms to drive them off. As such, I was relegated to just watching all of my skin peel off bit by bit, consequently revealing my pink flesh underneath.
The dragon’s blood burnt my clothes. It was as if I jumped into boiling oil and not a lake. My last piece of skin was finally shed. I was akin to a human mannequin standing by the wall in a biology experiment room, incapable of doing anything or feeling anything. I didn’t breathe, but I didn’t feel suffocated.
Legend had it that Achilles was impervious to blades after being soaked in a lake, with his ankle being his only vulnerable spot. Siegfried, on the other hand, used a leaf to cover the weak point on his shoulder. However, my entire body was submerged in the dragon’s blood. No body part was missed. If I was impervious to blades after, that meant my entire body was impervious to blades; nobody would be able to hurt me.
I swallowed mouthfuls of dragon blood. The initial painful feeling of being torn eventually developed into an oddly ecstatic sensation. Being submerged in the lake was initially incredibly painful, but I didn’t feel anything after shedding my skin. In fact, I could no longer feel the high temperature. To the contrary, it felt so cool and refreshing that I liked it. I gradually relaxed as the pain of being incinerated vanished. A feeling of exhaustion from around me came onto me.
I started to wonder how I was going to get out. Every part of my body ached. The pain came from within. The pain almost made me belt out, but I had an urge to let out a terrifying roar before I could let out a painful cry. I checked out my arm. My arm had shed its skin, but scales were growing from between my flesh and veins. Scales of the same colour as my skin gradually appeared. I was soon covered in closely situated together scales akin to that of snake scales. The shock and disgust rendered me lightheaded. Nevertheless, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even touch myself, let alone move my arm.
I felt as though my interior was in an inferno. The burning sensation ripped everything within, including my organs. My organs, veins and skin were alight; or rather, every inch of my veins was alight. I didn’t know if my organs were actually on fire or not as per the skin-shedding process. I had no idea what the function of a dragon’s blood was, but I was sure the scales made me invulnerable to magic and impervious to all blades.
“Am I now a dragon that is impervious to blades?” I pondered.
The closely-knitted scales covered my entire flesh body, and then melded in together, so there was no trace of my scales. They appeared as though they were once part of my skin. The last sensation of pain from my organs vanished. My heart stopped beating. When it resumed beating, it astonished me, because each thump was hard. It was as though my entire body had been switched out. My weak body that lacked mana was revived within an instant. I felt the delight and soothing feeling that was a result of having everything replaced with new parts.
I could finally feel my hand. I could finally feel the temperature around me. I blankly looked at my body and tried to move my fingers. I didn’t feel the softness of flesh, but rather, I felt metal. It was as if my entire body had become a machine. My exterior appearance looked the same as before, but I had shed my skin, leaving me with just ice-cold scales. Perhaps my body temperature heated my scales. But nonetheless, I could no longer feel the warmth of skin to skin contact and the bliss of it.
Henceforth, my moms, wives and children would only be able to feel hard and ice-cold scales, I presumed. The scales could, indeed, help me guard against mana and blades, but it also meant I’d never again be able to feel the warmth of an embrace or kiss. You couldn’t shake hands with somebody when you had your fist clenched.
I checked my surroundings, and then tried to swim. I never felt the empowered feeling before. I suddenly realised I needed oxygen. Sure, I was impervious to blades, but I still needed oxygen. With that said, I could last under water for a very long time, as my lungs could store a lot more oxygen. My vision and hearing didn’t show any obvious improvements, though. Perhaps that was why she left her eyes for me, as well.
I felt I had to ascend to the surface. I suddenly wanted to try utilising magic again. I imagined myself leaping out of the water as some sort of boss or hero character was making their entrance… So, what did I need to do then? I guess I needed to raise the water in my vicinity upwards…
That was what I did. I elevated myself straight up on a pillar of water. I felt the water underfoot rise up as if it was an elevator of water as well as the flowing water around me. I looked at the water overhead and the surface that was getting closer and closer. I dove right out of the water, allowing me to finally take in clear oxygen and feel the bright sunlight. Wings protruded from my back and beautifully spread out similarly to a bat. I felt the sensation of flying for the first time. I was able to learn to fly without being taught. I innately knew how to fly once I spread my wings.
I looked down below. The final remnants of black burnt stuff that the dragon burnt were still by the edge of the lake. Ying looked up to look at me in the sky. I slowly descended to the ground. My feet covered in scales couldn’t feel any more pain when I landed on the sand. All I felt was a slippery feeling.
My wings retracted into my back. I could control the wings at will. I looked at Ying with a smug gaze. I stretched my arms out to show off my body, and then proudly asked, “What do you think, Ying? How do I look? Any changes?”
Ying indifferently scanned me. She didn’t show any surprise despite seeing my current look. She scanned me for a while before nodding: “Your Majesty, your body is very tough. You look slightly thin, but you should have some muscle there.”
She then looked down below my waist. In a calm tone, she added, “As for other places… Sorry, but I have never seen another man’s body, so I have no way of evaluating whether you are tough or not.”
“Sorry… Sorry, sorry…”
I suddenly realised that I was naked… My clothes were burnt when I went into the water. The dragon’s blood recreated my skin and organs, but my clothes couldn’t be “revived.” I went red in the face and ears, and then covered myself up before moving to the side. I almost died from embarrassment when I looked at Ying.
Ying nonchalantly smiled, “It appears that we need to find you new clothes. Your Majesty, if I am correct, you can return now, right?”
I nodded. I extended my hand out and a flame appeared on my hand. Frankly, that was the first time I felt such a miraculous feeling. In the past, I only felt the pain of my organs being ripped apart when I used magic in the forest. From that day, I could easily use magic without feeling any side-effects. I could seemingly feel the wind nearby murmuring and the essences of wandering water. It seemed as though everything around had a voice.
I was sure I could command something with just my imagination. In fact, I could feel every grain of sand in the desert. I wondered, “Is this magic? Is this how Mommy Vyvyan feels?
I don’t think I was as strong as Mommy Vyvyan, though. As opposed to what I could feel, I believe my main source of strength for magic was my mana within.
I was reborn a second time. That’s right, it was my second reincarnation. I was reincarnated in the dragon’s blood. Humanity gave me my shell. Elves created my organs. The dragon gave me the power coursing through my entire body. Previously, I was just an ordinary human. Henceforward, I was an invincible existence, impervious to blades and capable of utilising magic. I became a mix of human, elf and dragon. Previously, I needed the people around me, but from then on, nobody could oppose my will.
I reached nirvana in the burning blood. To me, that was the same as a phoenix. I was an existence that reached nirvana!
“Not yet,” I answered to Ying. I closed my hand, putting out the flame. I then turned around to look at the burnt remains. Quietly, I said, “We need to give her a tombstone. She’s my mom. She’s my mom, who gave me my second life. She gave me everything she had; she truly loved me. I need to erect a tombstone for her in her hometown.”
“There is no need for that, Your Majesty.”
I spun my head back around. Ying’s comment surprised me. She, on the other hand, was confused. She questioned, “Did you mean to say the dragon’s revival was not what you were after?”