Book 7, Chapter 129

Conspiracy

While Richard’s assassins were taking care of the enemies in mid-air, most of the rest continued towards the teleportation gate before leaping down. Tiramisu’s mountainous body whistled as he descended a hundred metres to land right in front of the portal, jolting all of the draconians nearby. By the time they got back on their feet, Mountainsea’s landing took them right off again.

Only a handful of draconians managed to get up quickly and charge towards the ogre warlord, but they were sent flying immediately by Tenton. His body was quickly covered in milky white light as the priests who had come along buffed him, and before they could even despair the guards nearby were blown away. Already overbearing, Tiramisu grew into an impassable guardian before the priests had even landed.

Mountainsea and Tiramisu were tasked with preventing the draconians from sending any messages back through the portal. In case the victory was too much of a landslide, they were also to ensure that the desperate zealots wouldn’t destroy the gate. With them present, none of the draconians even had a chance to get close.

The draconians in the valley quickly descended into chaos; before they could even deal with the influx of powerhouses, a large army had charged down the valley and was starting to pick them off. There were over ten thousand of them present, even the weakest at least level 5 or 6, but at this point the invisible Richard watching over it all didn’t even consider the two saints a threat. He didn’t even feel like lifting a finger; if he wanted, he could finish all of them off by himself.

Still, the battle lasted longer than expected. Each of the draconians was a mindless zealot, fighting with no regard for themselves. By the end of it all, over half of the 10,000 had been killed while only a thousand or so were captured, many of even those heavily injured.

One gain was that the draconians had stockpiled enough rations to support themselves for three years. Even for an army of a hundred thousand, this was enough for at least three months. The dragons had evidently been planning a long invasion, their army about to enter Faelor very soon. They even had enough equipment to arm 20,000 soldiers, the armour all fit for a kingsguard in Faelor.

Zabal clearly hadn’t been lying when he said he would have entered Iron Triangle politics soon himself. The Dragon Church was planning a large invasion that nobody in Faelor was prepared for; if not for Richard’s own decimation of the Iron Triangle Empire, Rislant would certainly have fallen to this onslaught.

However, as he scanned through the valley, Richard quickly started to frown. Having followed him all this while, Nasia stopped and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“This place isn’t right… It’s missing a lot of people.”

“What?” Even Nasia was confused at his statement.

“Look around at the prisoners, there aren’t any children, or even any childbearing women.”

“… And?”

“And planar travel requires a lot of energy, no matter which plane you’re from. Regardless of the strength of the passage itself, it’s best to send in young men and women to have them reproduce here. The dragons are in this for the long haul. These guys either have another portal to Faelor, or they have a way to mitigate the costs of transport.”

“Hahaha,” Nasia suddenly chuckled, “You’ve never been to a plane of dragons, have you?”

“No,” Richard answered honestly. Sharon’s so-called weyr was just a cage, and in all of its history Norland had never come across the coordinates to a plane of dragons. While dragons themselves were still ubiquitous, there was little knowledge to be had about their societal structures.

“Alright, here’s the simple explanation. Dragons always live in places with excess energy; what you would think borderline excessive is nothing to them. So that cost you’re talking about? They don’t mind paying it at all… And here I was thinking you wanted all of their energy sources and that was the reason for the hasty assault.”

“I just wanted to get the upper hand,” Richard went a little red.

“Your Grace!” a rune knight suddenly rushed over and bowed, “We have discovered a secret hall!”

Richard motioned for the knight to lead them; there would undoubtedly be something to uncover.

While the entrance to the hall was through a random building, the hall itself was enormous and took up a number of streets’ worth of space below the town. Magic arrays were set up everywhere, keeping the place warm and humid to the point that it was packed with a dense mist. Richard took a single step inside, but he immediately retracted his foot; a large amount of sticky yellow fluid was now stuck to the bottom of his sole, and as he activated Insight he found the goop everywhere.

In some places, the yellow gunk was piled up into large mounds that contained giant green eggs within, looking very rough on the outside with some even having thorns upon them. At a glance, there were nearly a thousand eggs within. In no hurry to investigate, Richard called over a mage and had him record notes as he sniffed the air, “Environment is damp and humid, almost 100%... There’s a thick stench of sulphur as well.”

The mage immediately wrote down everything, watching as Richard finally walked in. This time, mana was flickering on his body as a lightening spell took effect, ensuring that none of the fluids got onto his feet. The apprentice tried to do the same, but his floating spell dissipated within half a minute; the magic arrays all around them were also absorbing mana. Eventually, the youth just grunted and allowed himself to fall in, trudging through the slime with difficulty as he took down notes.

Richard walked around most of the hall, having the young mage write down his observations whenever he stopped. It was an entire round before he even got to the giant eggs, of which he took a dozen or so samples with most crushed to pieces. Some were still new, but others already had visible embryos as well.

Several hours passed as Richard went through the standard process of research, making sure not to miss anything. The young mage was exhausted by the end, but Nasia had been leaning against a wall and staring for the entire period. Her gaze was focused on him the entire time, not showing the slightest hint of boredom.

He walked over to her and sighed, “Heh, what was that about not caring about the energy costs? This is a hatchery for the draconians, and from the looks of it they’ll be incubated in three months. I estimate they’ll also need another nine to grow once they hatch, but that’s still a thousand soldiers in a year.”

Nasia shook her head, “I believe they’re more afraid of drawing the attention of the local gods. However, why spend so much time looking at this? You should have seen records of these things before. You could just have asked me.”

“Books never manage to give you all the details,” he countered, “Besides, I can’t rely on you for everything either; our relationship will come to an end someday.”

Nasia remained quiet for a while, no emotions shown on her mask as she said dully, “Do as you like.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA