Kukulkan, a traveling merchant, journeyed to various towns, selling his home-village’s specialties as he went. From freezing mountains to scorching deserts, no matter where he traveled, Kukulkan enjoyed every trip. One day, he began to feel his body discernibly deteriorating; simply taking a few steps to quickly would prompt heavy panting. Later, he even started coughing, and regardless of what he did, it did not stop.
However, he did not seek immediate medical assistance and instead, simply continued with his journey. But his condition deteriorated until eventually, he started coughing up blood. Seeing little other options, he had to return home and rest. His family was shocked by his sudden return home, but upon learning what happened, they tenderly cared for him and requested a favor from the village’s doctor.
Doctor: I have never seen such a strange disease; there is no record of this in any of my books. I can only try every herb possible.
Kukulkan: Doctor, please help me!
Kukulkan: These are the herbs the doctor told me to gather...hope they work this time.
Kukulkan lay unsettled on his bed. Despite the myriad medical trials, nothing alleviated his illness, let alone cured him. The doctor had visited for another inspection today; his family waited for the result in silence. After a while, the doctor sighed and shook his head, his expression somber.
Kukulkan’s family could not accept the devastating news. Some of them pulled at the doctor’s clothes, while others kneeled, hoping the doctor would inspect Kukulkan again and give a different prognosis. Yet, Kukulkan himself was relatively calm. Seeing his family like this, he could not help but say:
Kukulkan: Maybe this is my fate. I’m meant to die like this.
Kukulkan patted the doctor’s shoulder to express his gratitude, before asking his family to walk the doctor out. Afterwards, his family sought many renowned doctors, but none could treat Kukulkan successfully.
Unable to bear seeing his family suffer because of him and waste a fortune, he sneaked out of the house when he still could. He went to a faraway village in the forest, and awaited death...
Since arriving this village populated only by the old and the sick, he lost all hope of living. It was as if life’s sole purpose was to await death. This did not change until the day he met Fafnir when he was fishing at the river. She awoke his long-dead heart; the value and meaning of life began to return.
The more time Kukulkan spent with Fafnir, the more he fell for her. This gradually transformed him, turning his acceptance of death into fear of it. His desire for continued life resonated with a gemstone imbued with Elder Gods’ power; the power transformed his body from that of a Human into one of a dragon.
Kukulkan flew back to the village, but the villagers were repulsed by his draconic appearance. The sight of villagers running from him caused greater hatred of his new self. Hence, he hid in the forest; as he looked at the terrifying reflection of himself in the stream, he complained about his fate.
Kukulkan: ‘Even though I’ve become immortal, how could she possibly love me when I look like this. What is the point of life?’
He slammed his tail into the stream in an attempt to release his sorrow and anger, splashing water all around. Just then, Fafnir slowly approached. She reached out her hands to embrace him and comforted him:
Fafnir: You are beautiful. No other creature can be as beautiful as you...
Kukulkan: Enough! I know what I look like now. You think that could trick me into trusting you? I don’t need this pointless sympathy from you!
Furious, Kukulkan shoved Fafnir away because he felt he was not qualified to even stand beside her. He also thought his mere presence near her was an insult to her.
Kukulkan: ‘In this state,...I don’t deserve to be with you...’
Fafnir’s words could not reach the frustrated Kukulkan. He merely wildly slammed his tail and lashed out with his two hands, and water splashed while trees collapsed. Fafnir could no longer take it; her body suddenly radiated with blinding light. The light finally calmed Kukulkan, and a gigantic dragon appeared where she had stood as the light dissipated...
Fafnir: How are you ugly? Do you think I look hideous as well then?
Fafnir: Do not feel inferior. On the contrary, we take a form they fear because of our superiority to them.
Kukulkan: ...I’m like you...superior to Humans...
Fafnir: That is correct. We are the same.
Learning of Fafnir’s ability to transform into a dragon like him had restored Kukulkan’s self-esteem. He even started picturing a life together with Fafnir. He knew that only Fafnir understood and admired him. Hence, Kukulkan left with Fafnir and joined her journey across the realm.
Love was not the sole emotion Kukulkan had for Fafnir; he deemed her the only shelter for his weary heart, and only to her will his heart belong.
When Kukulkan first turned into a dragon, he thought there would be no way he could be with Fafnir. What he did not foresee was that Fafnir was also able to transform into a dragon, and she even admired his new form. Humans’ repulsion and Fafnir’s acceptance had simultaneously convinced himself that Fafnir was his weary heart’s only shelter.
He eventually decided to follow Fafnir on her journey across the realm; during which, Fafnir demonstrated to him the true extent of humanity’s corruption. They would harm everything around them purely for their own selfish desires. She told him that Humans did not deserve to live in the world; as long as Humans existed, the realm would wind up on the path of destruction. Therefore, to ensure the safety of the realm, Humans had to be eliminated.
Although repulsed by Humans, Kukulkan could not do anything to harm them because he was once one of them. He felt the situation could be improved if he changed how they think. However, Fafnir attributed this way of thinking to his incomplete understanding about Humans’ immorality. Later, they happened to across Humans on a hunt. Kukulkan and Fafnir decided to save the prey...
Inexperienced Hunter: There...There are two dragons in the sky!
Hunter: What are you afraid of? It’s perfect! I’ve been a hunter all my life, and I’ve never hunted dragons.
Kukulkan: Stop it! Don’t hurt the innocent animals! Lives of other creatures are not for your enjoyment!
Hunter: Hmph! The strong preying on the weak is the law of nature. They are weak, and so, they should be our toys!
Fafnir: Scum will forever be scum!
Hunter: Who are you calling scum?!
Their fear replaced by anger in the face of Fafnir’s insults, the hunters attacked. However, the powerful Fafnir did not take them seriously; she merely let the hunters’ arrows slide across her body. Having witnessed everything fold, Kukulkan could feel his anger blazing in his heart, before it bursted.
He lifted his gigantic sword and conjured water element before hurling it at the hunters. What chance did they have against such a powerful creature? Their sole options were to flee, or beg for mercy, but anger had already clouded Kukulkan’s mind from hearing their pleas. Pained cries abounded. It was not until the surroundings quieted before Kukulkan stopped swinging his sword, and calmed the water elements.
Kukulkan: I killed...all of them...They are all dead because of me...
Fear surged within Kukulkan’s heart. He merely wanted to protect Fafnir, and punish those who belittled or attacked her. But he had never thought his anger would drive him to kill.
Fafnir: You did nothing wrong. They are not suppose to live! What you did was correct; you do not need to blame yourself acting in that way.
It was only after Fafnir’s consoling that Kukulkan’s body finally stopped shivering. Although he still deemed his actions unforgivable, he would willingly give anything just for Fafnir to be happy...
Kukulkan originally did not agree with Fafnir’s thought of eliminating Humans, but his willingness to forgive their wrongdoings weakened after he realized that Humans would kill without cause. And such lenience totally perished when Humans harmed his beloved Fafnir. To protect and appease Fafnir, Kukulkan had always been loyally executing her every order. He never attempted to go against her will, as if he lived for her and only for her.
One silent night, Fafnir took her Human form and leant against Kukulkan. Although his eyes were kept closed, he did not sleep, for he feared someone would intrude and assault Fafnir. She lightly stroked his serpentine body and said with content:
Fafnir: I have never thought that the gemstones of the Venerable Elder Gods would fall into your hands. Their power should only belong to me...
Fafnir: If I kill you now, the power will be mine again.
Though Kukulkan knew clearly that Fafnir had never loved him, he still hoped that she might change one day after she notices his love and kindness. But she merely treated her as a tool and now, she even wanted to kill him. His heart sank when he realized this, as if he was thrown into a pool of ice-cold water. What did she think he was? A disposable killing machine? Or a submissive soldier? His affection for her began to falter.
Kukulkan and Fafnir happened to run into woodcutters in a forest.
Fafnir: Kukulkan, stop them! We cannot let them destroy the realm created by the Venerable Elder Gods.
Kukulkan: If you want to stop them, you do it! Stop ordering me around!
Kukulkan had planned not to interfere, but Fafnir’s call for help stirred his sympathy.Therefore, he grabbed his gigantic sword as well as his shield, and charged.
Kukulkan killed every Human who had harmed Fafnir. The latter was delighted to see the many Human bodies scattered on the ground. She transformed back into Human form and approached Kukulkan, hoping to embrace him, but to her surprise, he raised his sword.
Kukulkan: Don’t think I don’t know that you’ve always wanted to kill me and take back your gemstone.
Fafnir immediately realized that Kukulkan had overheard her murmuring in the night. But she remained calm before leaning against him and said tenderly:
Fafnir: Frankly speaking, I originally did think like that.
Fafnir: But the more time I spend with you, the less I can bear hurting you.
Kukulkan lowered his head, their eyes looking into each other’s. Fafnir stroked his face before continuing:
Fafnir: You are a significant companion to me. I cannot live without you.
Kukulkan: I’m sorry...how could I have misunderstood you...
Fafnir: It’s okay, as long as you understand how I feel now.
They threw themselves into the other’s embrace. Feelings of bliss surged from Kukulkan’s heart. But what he did not truly understand was that in reality, he was nothing more to Fafnir than a tool to eradicate Humans...