Book 8, Chapter 38

Crushed Gold

Less than an hour later, most of the dragons had died in battle while a handful were captured. The saints retreated to rest and heal from their wounds while Richard’s followers led the rune knights up into the nests, scooping up the spoils of war. Almost all of the saints were injured to some extent, two in immense pain as a handful of priests treated them. However, even they were beaming with joy and would rather wear out some vitality by getting healed instead of resting to recuperate naturally.

Richard’s troops looted all of the nests in quick succession, gaining a lot more than just a few dozen dragons. Even with him taking most of the spoils, every saint got a third of a full dragon’s worth; on the other hand, most of them couldn’t even hunt alone in the Dragon Plane yet! With his transparency in splitting up the loot, even the people suspecting him of being unjust had no leg to stand on.

The rune knights found about a dozen eggs and two hatchlings, while the material wealth piled up into a small hill. It could all be sold for astronomical prices in Norland; outside of high-energy crystals, there was a large amount of metal ore as well. The material was shiny and translucent, to the point that Richard didn’t think it had the same properties as normal ore, but Nasia calmly confirmed that it had just absorbed too much energy. It was still metallic in origin, but it could be used to create legendary equipment.

Richard himself had two divine swords, but he definitely wasn’t at the stage yet where legendary items were commodities. This would certainly boost morale greatly, but Nasia had treated it as no big deal. However, before he could complain, Nasia pointed in another direction, “Twenty.”

This time, he was smart enough not to ask how she had been able to see so far, instead taking the lead and having the army advance in the direction she had pointed out. 200 more kilometres and a huge harvest later, she “saw” thirty more.

……

Ten days passed by in a flash, and Richard had basically circled once around the portal and wiped out all of the dragons within 300 kilometres. The battle elite winter soldiers found no use in this time, having become porters carrying the killed dragons. He’d even been forced to send two shipments to Faelor already, lest his remaining soldiers suffer the same fate.

After many days of intense battle, the saints were finally fatigued. Even Tannan had dark circles around his eyes, despite the general air of excitement all around. Richard decided to withdraw back to the portal, consolidating his profits before returning another day. For the time being, he had managed to clear up the surroundings of the portal and could build a base.

However, they weren’t far into their retreat before Nasia stopped and said seriously, “A top-tier offering’s here.”

“A top-tier offering?” Richard could not understand what she meant.

“An old friend of yours, Crackler or whatever. The dragon that dreamt of destroying Faelor.”

“Kralkalor? How far away?” Richard immediately turned serious. Kralkalor was level 25, possessing power second only to Tiamat and Bahamut. Even with his current abilities, he wouldn’t be confident in taking that fight unless he was boosted with the special King of War. The gold dragon’s destructive capabilities were just far too great. Thankfully, Nasia could see far into the distance and had warned him in time.

However, the aforementioned paladin quickly broke that notion, “Fifty kilometres away, and it’s moving over at full speed.”

“Fifty?! Why didn’t you mention earlier?” he raged. It seemed like a large distance, but dragons flew quickly as well. He promptly sent out orders for all participating saints to enter defensive formation, making it clear that they had to listen to every command. These saints were considered powerhouses in most circumstances, but they were fragile in front of the gold dragon who could kill a number of them with a single breath attack. Crazy attack tactics just wouldn’t work.

“No need to be nervous,” Nasia remained calm as ever, “It’s not like we can’t win.”

“But I don’t want my people dead!” Richard grumbled, reorganising his troops. Some of the saints couldn’t understand his orders at first, but he gave up all pretense of respect and just dragged those to their spots so the formation would be set up in time.

Not long after, a mass of black appeared on the horizon. Dragons were zooming towards them like lightning, but the full number was much more than Richard had anticipated. Nasia suddenly spoke up from beside him, “Right, I forgot to say. The dragon also brought a hundred others.”

“WHAT?” Richard wanted to scream at her, but instead of arguing he just yelled, “KING OF WAR!”

A golden pillar descended on his body, his aura pulsing stronger and stronger until he was level 23.

The dragons flew very quickly, arriving in only a few minutes with Kralkalor at the lead. The gold dragon had seen Richard from far away, dark red clouding its eyes as it swooped towards him. Tannan grunted and swung his shield out to block the charge, but after a loud clash he was pushed a dozen metres away but a swat of one paw. He took a deep breath and let out another warcry, green light covering him as he grew larger and charged back in, but this time Kralkalor slammed into him with a tail and sent him flying away. The warrior immediately coughed up blood, staring in shock.

However, a clear and pleasant voice suddenly rang by his ear, “Life.”

A tremendous amount of life force surged into Tannan’s body, healing most of his injuries instantly and beginning work on the rest. He was both shocked and delighted by the recovery; this was equivalent to a full-power healing spell from a grand priest, but it hadn’t drawn upon much of his own life force. Glancing in Richard’s direction, he saw an angelic face focused on him opening its lips once more, “Protection.”

The life force surrounding him immediately solidified into three solid white barriers, revolving around him and prepared to take on any strike. Immediately feeling the boost to his defences, Tannan regained his confidence and smiled when Richard told him to stop Kralkalor, “Leave it to me!”

The furious dragon slammed down with his claws, thinking he could send Tannan flying once more, but this time the warrior only slid a few metres backwards before bursting into laughter and rushing forward once more.

“Nasia, stop Kralk!” Richard exclaimed as he looked to the back, but at some point she had run off to get behind a different dragon. Using its tail to flip onto its back, she sped up to its neck before stabbing her twin blades in all the way up to the hilt. The creature’s eyes went wide and it roared in pain before collapsing.

Nasia plucked out both blades, extracting a shiny crystal in the process before turning towards Richard. The eyebrows on her mask went up as she pointed to herself and then at Kralkalor before asking with disbelief, “You want a mere saint to go against a legendary dragon?”

For a single moment, Richard was at a loss for words. Her question seemed to make sense; most saints couldn’t take on a single blow from the gold dragon, and taking it on in battle would be a death wish. But this one wasn’t most saints, was she? She was the only one he had ever met that he couldn’t defeat at an equal or lower level!

“Fire!” With no other choice, he could only resort to the demonic face and watch as the dragon’s right wing caught fire. However, Kralkalor’s defences were far greater than those of ordinary dragons and it took almost a minute for the scales to begin distorting. He roared in pain and moved to pounce on Richard, but Tannan managed to stop him once more.

Thankfully, a disgruntled Nasia eventually blinked onto the dragon’s lower back, aiming her blades at the scales that had been softened by the flames. She cut away with no remorse, sending flesh, blood, and scales flying in all directions. Kralkalor flapped hard to send her flying away, but this only tore at his injuries and spawned another roar of pain.

It was at this point that the remaining saints rose into the skies, beginning their battle against the dragons Kralkalor had brought with him. Half of them listened to Richard’s orders and fought within the range he marked out, but the other half did as they liked and flashed towards the dragons they found easiest to deal with. In this process, some of them left the throwing range of the rune knights.

Multiple miserable cries suddenly rang through the skies as a number of saints were knocked off-course. Before they knew what had happened, two of them were surrounded by multiple dragons and torn to shreds in an instant.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA