Leviathan:Volume 5 Prologue
In the past, New York was the largest international city in the world.
At its heart was Manhattan Island, which was now a land ruled by dragonkind. Humans called it the Old Manhattan Concession.
However, despite its name as a concession territory, very few dragons made their residence there.
The vast majority of its area was either wasteland or wilderness inhabited by neither dragons nor humans. Standing here, the Monolith, a gigantic square prism towering over a kilometer tall, was the only proof that this was dragon territory.
However, this Old Manhattan had one ruler.
The dragon king of dragon kings, considered the representative of dragonkind. Not only was he the first sapient dragon encountered in the history of mankind, but he was also the spokesman who had forced humanity to sign an unequal treaty in humiliation.
Such a character was currently gliding leisurely in the sky over the New York wasteland.
His body length was twenty meters with an even larger wingspan.
All the scales over his entire body were bright red, with an armor-like exoskeleton over his chest area, awe-inspiring like a great marshal commanding a million troops.
Unbeknownst to mankind, he was referred to as the Red Flame Emperor among his kind.
However, he preferred the name given to him by humans and always styled himself as Hannibal.
That being said—
'O Flame Emperor, may I have a moment of your time?'
A thought wave transmitted from the ground was addressing him with that ancient title.
A certain old acquaintance was using Mental Communication magic. Although he had no obligation to humor the request, it would be a hassle to be continually pestered, hence, the leisurely gliding Hannibal could not help but shrug like a human.
A dragon king who was not a pure-blooded dragon—Hannibal.
Using a dragon's body, he unintentionally performed an action that was supposed to be done when in human form.
In any case, he was currently descending slowly. The flourishing forest stretching under his view was a place known as Central Park in the past. However, his landing spot was not inside the park.
The main road on the east of Central Park. This was known as Fifth Avenue back in the previous century, a major thoroughfare where humans gathered from all over the world.
...In fact, on a whim once, Hannibal had browsed this city's map.
Thanks to that, he still had more or less some impression of the names of several New York-era locations.
While landing, he altered his appearance, transforming from a dragon to a human.
The massive dragon, twenty meters long, turned into a muscular 195cm-tall man within the blink of an eye—He believed that it would be easier to converse this way.
"What a rare occasion. It has been ten years since the last time you showed up, hasn't it?"
The dragon king gazed at the human male standing on the asphalt road.
Dressed in a black suit, bearing a well-proportioned face that showed experienced astringency, he was the man tasked with the job of being the guide for the Road to Kingship.
"Based on your way of doing things, Sophocles, this is quite a show of sincerity."
"You are too kind, Lord. I am a man who would visit every day for an audience with you so long as there is such a necessity."
The corners of Sophocles' lips parted to produce a crack in the shape of a smile.
He was not completely expressionless. Rather, due to not showing his emotions for too long—over a thousand years—his ability to express himself had naturally atrophied.
"The purpose of my visit today is to provide counsel."
"Precisely. Lord, twenty years have elapsed since you made this city your new territory. As a magic city and enchanted realm, this place has developed to maturity without impediment. And now, this land has probably reached its peak, a turning point."
"This city" referred to the Old Manhattan Concession.
Even the biggest metropolis in the history of mankind had turned into a wasteland now.
A city of emptiness where there was not even a single human or dragon apart from Hannibal. However, the number of residents living here were actually quite numerous. Such a group could be considered the red dragon king's serfs.
Sophocles continued further.
"Shouldn't you to leave this city to establish another concession as a stronghold? Or rather, it is time to demand that the humans offer up additional land."
"O king, I implore you to consider—"
"Sorry, but forget it."
The man, who served as an adviser of sorts to dragon kings and Tyrannoi, offered his suggestion.
However, Hannibal interrupted him and grinned. The red dragon king's human form was that of a well-built man in his prime. However, his face was showing an unbelievably gentle expression.
In complete contrast to the man before him, Hannibal was a man who expressed a full range of emotions with honesty.
While a smile like a mischievous child's, he said to Sophocles, "You should probably offer your advice to someone else. The Black Lightning Emperor would probably concur happily no matter how much you speak. There are other things I wish to do at the present."
"...I see. It appears that you already have a plan in mind."
Sophocles' lips once again formed a crack that could hardly be called a smile.
It was probably a wry smile. His counsel, founded upon extraordinary knowledge and insight, had been rejected summarily by the dragon kings—This was actually quite commonplace.
"Oh actually, I've recently discovered something more interesting than fighting for territory."
"Yes. Let me see, how do the humans say it...? Right, like that."
Hannibal smiled like a child again.
Then in an astoundingly rich baritone voice, he said to his non-dragon companion, "Have you heard of it? It's something called democracy."
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