Sharon’s eyes twinkled as she covered her mouth and laughed, heartily, eyelashes fluttering like feathers in the wind, “Really?”
“… Of course!” Tiamat responded, finding the second time easier to swallow.
Sharon picked the dragon up and flew towards the completed weyr, throwing her into a random hole, “This is where you stay.”
The moment she said those words, magical light fell on Tiamat’s body and twirled around it. The energy slowly suppressed the Prime Evil’s resistance, burrowing into her body and locking up her energy. In this semiplane, Sharon’s will was law and could not be resisted, in body or soul.
Standing at the mouth of the cave, Sharon looked at the small dragon and spoke in a lofty tone, “You’re going to stay here for a month before you have the right to go out; when you do, you can fly about for five minutes a day. You have to turn up to battles when I summon you, and that’ll be used as part of your repayment. Tell me if you're good at anything; if I can use it that can help you towards freedom too.”
“Freedom?” Tiamat stood dumbfounded for a moment; she hadn’t expected that to ever be on the table.
“Yes, freedom!” The legendary mage took out pen and paper from somewhere and started jotting down some formulae before passing it on to the dragon, “You have three repayment plans here; the total is the same, 20% over the damage you did, but that’s the price for losing to me. You have three minutes.”
Tiamat’s heart immediately relaxed a little at the fairness that she wasn’t used to. 20% was barely anything when considering Sharon could have just forced her into eternal servitude; it also showed that the legendary mage had no interest in any trickery. Had she been in the same place, she would have forced several times the original debt at minimum. The difference in might here certainly wasn’t only 20%.
But when she looked down, the dragon was shocked. There were indeed three options, but the formula for each one had countless symbols that were scribbled all over the page. It was almost impossible to make out just what the calculations were supposed to be.
The dragon sneered at first; as someone who had lived for centuries, she had amassed a wealth of knowledge that included advanced mathematics. In theory, the young Sharon’s mathematical skills should have been no match for her own. In addition, three minutes was basically forever for those at her level; if Sharon wanted to stump her with this, it was a foolish choice!
Tiamat acted a little troubled at first, but she had already memorised all the formulae in their entirety. Thousands of numbers flowed through her mind in the very first second, and she went through 900 ways to break the code and select the best choice. However, every time she felt like she had solved it, she found a new stumbling block. Every deduction revealed that she had misunderstood something, voiding all of her prior attempts. She would gather her thoughts and try again, but the process just repeated itself.
She hadn’t even solved the first formula, but the dragon suddenly snapped out of thought and checked the time that had passed: two minutes and fifty seconds! Time was almost up, but she couldn’t even work out the first one! Every attempted solution revealed more and more, but there seemed to be no end. With no choice, she had to rely on her gut and put her paw on one that didn’t look too bad.
The contract immediately took effect, a ray of light connecting the two. Sharon didn’t comment on the choice, merely nodding, “Don’t pull any tricks or think of escaping; stay away from my mana pool and the energy forest; reviving you will be expensive. If you do it anyway, you’ll be paying for the resurrection.”
“Resurrection? Does that mean…” Tiamat’s voice started shaking.
“Of course I won’t bring you back as undead! Your soul is already bound to the weyr; when you die, it’ll come back here. I can make you another body, but a good dragon body is expensive to make. I’m not joking, it’ll add on to your debts!”
Tiamat heaved a sigh of relief; such a resurrection was still acceptable. Still, Sharon’s nonchalance awed her; the power and wealth required to gather enough materials for a legendary dragon’s body was not small. She was certain that it would be an enormous addition to her debts; unless absolutely necessary, there was no way she wanted to bear it. Besides, her current body was extremely powerful; despite Sharon’s meddling, it still retained enormous battle abilities. As long as she left this damned place one day, she would definitely recover to her peak.
Sharon tossed the agreement back to the dragon, “This is yours, you can take a closer look when you have time. I suggest you put it away for now, I’ve already done the calculations. A servant will come deliver food for you every day so you don’t starve, but if you want more I’ll add that to the bill.”
Tiamat just nodded endlessly, but once Sharon left she immediately opened up the contract and stared at the formula she’d chosen. A grunt rang out a mere minute later; she had gotten a third of the way through calculations before realising that its original premise was completely wrong. Compared to the first one, this was much more complicated.
Pushing down her fears, she stared at the formula and concentrated to the best of her abilities. However, the three formulae seemed like endless mountains that could never be scaled.
A few dragons within the weyr suddenly reared their heads, looking around to find that Sharon truly had left the semiplane before slithering out of their caves. Not all of the dragons in the weyr had this freedom, but these ones took off and flew around the plane. It seemed rather accidental for them to get to Tiamat’s, but they saw the Prime Evil constantly doodling on the ground as she inspected the agreement. She seemed completely oblivious to their gaze.
The short flight having drained them of their time, the dragons had no choice but to return to their caves while talking.
“It really is her!”
“She just got pinched down by Her Excellency, looks like we don’t need to call her our superior in the future.”
“She’s still inspecting the agreement, huh?”
“She’ll give up after a month, it’s not something we can solve.”
“Exactly! They’re all traps!”
“Oh yes, did any of you get even one?”
The moment Sharon passed through the void to reappear in the Deepblue, a lock of her hair suddenly stood up and pointed in Apeiron’s direction. She looked up and saw the Empress floating in the night sky, frowning for a moment, “You’re back?”
“How could the Outlands keep me?” Apeiron shrugged, “I haven’t seen you in so long, Sharon. How have you been?”
“I’m doing great.”
“And where’s the Prime Evil?”
“I have her stowed away in my semiplane. Why, did you send her here?”
“Eh, no. I just want to eat her, give her to me!”
Sharon tidied her hair before flashing a lazy smile, “You’re joking, right?”
Apeiron smiled as well, but hers was much more stern and almost made her look androgynous, “I’ve been living in the Outlands for so many years, do you think I can’t even ask you for some food? I’m getting that dragon, no matter what!”
Sharon laughed coldly, “Outlands? Why would I care? Well, whatever. I need to stretch my limbs a bit, and it looks like you need a lesson.”
The Empress’s eyes lit up, “Why are we still talking, then? Let’s fight, we’ll naturally know the results.”
Before even finishing the sentence, she had flashed right in front of Sharon and thrown her fist straight for the legendary mage’s nose. Sharon herself showed no fear, swinging herself to meet the strike.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA