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“Did you call for me Ms. Valenor?”
“Hm, don’t forget that he’s still a king, isn’t calling him out by his name a bit too casual?”
“Um…I agree with you and will be more careful. Dwarf King Inor, please gather your top stone masons, your Lord requires it.”
“Yes! They will arrive shortly.”
Valerno had relayed my wishes without needing any instruction. I petted her mane to commend her newfound initiative.
“Johra don’t, that’s a very sensitive spot for me. I might sneeze or cough because it’s too ticklish and end up burning Inor.
Inoru immediately wore a terrified expression.
“I apologize Dwarf King.”
“Please don’t incinerate me, there are so many alcohols which i haven’t sampled yet! hahahah!”
Fortunately Inor was an easy going king. He spoke to me about his obsession with drinking and even going on about tales of how he would ignore the advances of pretty women in favor of new ale. His story was only cut short when the masons entered the hall.
“Is that them? Your most skilled masons?”
The one with the fullest Dwarven beard among them walked forward and responded in a haughty tone.
“Did you summon us? We only get involved for large projects and our fee is very expensive.
I tossed out a pouch filled with jewels, landing before their feet.
“Consider this as the deposit, if you complete the task I’ll reward you with a wagon full of platinum.”
One of the masons stepped forward to inspect the pouch. As he pulled out a large gem, his eyes went wide with greed. Without giving it a second thought he shouted out.
“When do we start? Let’s get going!”
Valenor turned around signalling us to get on her back.
“Get up here!”
“Woo, we’re riding a dragon!”
The twenty or so mason dwarves joined me on Valenor’s back, but even then it was quite spacious up here. It was hard to hold back my laughter as we seemed they looked like tiny insects crawling on her back.
‘What’s so funny Johra? I can feel you are trying to stop yourself from laughing.’
‘It’s nothing Valenor, just that the tiny dwarves look comical compared to your size. Also you should take your new passengers into account and fly at lower speeds.
“Common Dwarves, hold on tight!”
Within seconds we had left the Magma Hall behind us and were zipping through the air
One of them had already fallen off but Valenor reached out and caught him with her claw.
“Hu hu, thanks for the save.”
‘Valenor, I know it’s difficult for you but do try to slow down. I’d rather not have any deaths on this trip.”
“Okay Johra, I got it.”
“Long live the Dwarves!”
“ Curses… my beard is freezing over!”
Although Valenor had put in a great effort and we were travelling at just ¼ her maximum speed, the cursing and groaning sounds continued until our arrival. Once in the Pit, she threw them unceremoniously into the lake. Of course Nymue came out to complain.
“Lord, why have you thrown these dirty dwarves into the lake? You’re ruining the purity of my home! I can’t accept this, remove these filths at once.”
“Oh hello there, Why haven’t I seen you around these days.”
“Do you even need to ask, don’t you know how I feel about you….?”
“Oh please continue, I’m quite curious.”
Valenor’s giant head bore down on Nymue intimidatingly.
“Uhm it’s nothing oh great Valenor.”
“Really? It was regarding my partner so I’m really curious.”
“I just remembered I have something important to take care of, please get rid of these dwarves!”
Nymue escaped to the depths of the lake.
“Johra there are so many beautiful females surrounding you, why did you choose me? True I’m just as beautiful but hardly what others might call feminine. Isn’t that the usual criteria for a partner?”
I was in a tough spot, I could hardly tell her that we accidently got married now could I? After all she was too scary of an opponent to say no to.
“They are only friends of mine, I was looking for someone powerful and respected as my wife.”
“Truly Johra, despite having lived for hundreds of years you still manage to make me blush.”
Her large white face gained a pinkish hue as she replied in embarrassment. It was a cuteness that didn’t match up with her huge size I thought, as I stroke her mane peacefully.
“No Valenor! If you do that you’ll decimate the Pit!”
I desperately screamed to stop her from coughing.
Huuuuo, that was close. Johra, I’ve told you already that I’m too sensitive there.
“I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself, you’re too adorable.”
“Ha, you’re the first to ever say that a large dragon like me is adorable!”
“King, we have already defrosted thanks to being dipped into the lake, how should we proceed?”
The dwarves climbed out of the water, more than a little peeved by their circumstances.
“My Lord, I am here and ready to serve.”
Nearby the Antilliens and High-Arachnids were standing by.
“Dwarven masons, you will receive the help of my minions in order to build a residence for the Asmodians as well as a palace for myself.”
Yes, they are camped outside, weak and the mercy of nature. PLease cooperate with my insects and focus first on building them a dwelling.
“We will follow the King’s instructions.”
“It will take quite a while with just us 20.”
“Don’t underestimate my subordinates, they work faster and are more useful than you give them credit.”
I sent Tillian to oversee the insects in assisting the dwarves and watched as they walked off to work.
“Alpeon step up our time frame in training the goblins. The weaker ones will be ignored while the strong will be assigned a portion of the World’s nectar.Let’s try to keep their numbers under 500.”
“I will see to it my Lord.”
Initially the total number of goblins caught by Mir had been 500, but their numbers had already grown to 2000. Although their reproduction rate was outstanding, I was looking for them to evolve. Also feeding them wasn’t much of a problem since I just had to provide a minimum amount of nectar and the strong would cannibalise the weak. My hope was that a few Goblin Kings and Commander would appear as they had been quite the troublesome foes.
‘Gnoss I have question’.
‘What is it?’
‘Why have the Elves decided to betray me and form this great expedition?’
‘Isn’t it obvious? You fed the some nectar to the Elf with you sent as a messenger. This provided them with all the evidence required to know that you possessed the nectar in these lands.’
‘Is that really all?’
I guess I was still underestimating the value of the World nectar, perhaps taking it for granted. It properties were truly magical as it could be used as substanance and even to evolve your troops.
“Valenor, can you wait for me here?”
“Is it because you are going to see your familiar Ian?”
I nodded back.
“… ok, I’ll be here.”
She was going to say something else but finally held back, reconsidering a retort.
Walking in, I noticed her sitting down with her knees tucked in, back facing the tent’s entrance.
“Are you hurt because of me?”
“You are my only friend Everyone else has colleagues, but I remain alone. Sure I have Mallepi, but he can’t talk and Gwyn and I don’t have the best of relationships. After you and Valerno became married, what am I left with?
I thought I understood her well, but only now did I realise that I never truly knew her heart. After a long period of silence I decided to speak.
“I have some people to introduce you to, would you like to make some new friends?”
“Not interest. It’s enough if you are my only friend.”
Well. of course we will always be friends, but if you meet other people at least you won’t be as lonely when I’m not around.
“Are you planning on leaving and handing me off to these people?”
“No, I would never. You’re my one and only familiar, so wherever we are you are always connected to me. Don’t you already know what is in my mind?
“Johra is too mean, how can you act this way when you know what’s in my heart?”
“… I’m just a skeleton so I just can’t help it.”
“You’re terrible but I still like you, what should I do? Johra… Sniff!”
A woman’s tears are scarier than any sword or magic. It was only Ian that could make me feel pain.
“Please don’t be so sad because I do care about you. I’ll introduce you to others and you can make some new friends.
“I don’t know… I want to be alone now.”
Sensing her need for privacy, I decided to take my leave.
Mallepi was ramming his head into my legs, blaming me for Ian’s woes.
‘Hmm, What should I do…’
Ian seemed sad but there wasn’t much I could do to cheer her up.
‘Guess I’ll go see Gwyn, she might be able to help.’
She enjoyed spending her time among flowers and had built herself a nice little garden retreat.
I was of course banned from entering, so I called out to her from a distance. Although I could always deactivate my passive Lifesteal, there was always the slightest aftereffects that remained which might cause the flowers to wilt.
“Is it Chompy? Chii Piii ”
“Gwyn what are you up to?”
“Don’t you know that we aren’t talking anymore?”
“Why? I still think we are good friends, do you not feel that way anymore?
“No…? I also like you, but I thought now that you were married you wouldn’t need me anymore…”
She went around waving her arms with a pout on her face.
“Not at all, Gwyn has always been very dear to me.”
“Is it true, do you really care for me so despite having a huge dragon, you still need me?”
“Of course, Gwyn was my first and closest friend and that has never changed.”
“Really? Then I don’t feel bad anymore!”
Gwyn’s simple mindedness made finding a solution so easy.
“But I think Ian is still hurting.”
“Really? You cheered me up, then It’s my turn to do the same to her!”
I watched Gwyn fly towards Ian’s tent, silently cheering for her.
‘Do your thing, you always manage to make people smile.’
I returned to Valenor after seeing Gwyn off.
“Johra it looks like your meeting didn’t go so well. Anything I could do to help?”
I shook my head.
“Indeed it might take some time for her to heal. Let’s focus on the more pressing problems at hand”
“You mean the issue you sent the golden Antillien to handle?”
I nodded back, quite worried. It had been two days since I had tasked Arin to meet the Totem Orcs, but I still hadn’t received any news.
“Get on Johra.”
Valenor lowered herself to allow me to easily mount her.
“I’ll get there as soon as possible.”
“Uhm… can’t we, you know travel a bit slower. You don’t exactly want a frozen skeleton for a husband do you?”
“How can we travel slowly when you are worried about the safety of your subordinate.”
Valenor ignored me and zipped away at her maximum speed and high altitude. Of course I had cold resistance that allowed me to endure, but that didn’t prevent the moisture in the air from freezing upon contact and creating icicles.
Valenor slowed down in the sky, above the location where the Totem Orcs should have resided.
“They aren’t anywhere nearby.”
“Right, there are signs of a big fight. I just hope it wasn’t with Arin.”
The earth had been scarred with magic spells, as I looked around I noticed it was mostly orcs and human corpses.
“Do you think there are any survivors?”
“Not sure, let me check.”
I managed to find one hiding within a collapsed tent which was buried beneath several corpses.
Clearing out the bodies I found a child Orc weeping uncontrollably.
I handed him my nectar bottle which I always carried around with me, hoping to silence his wailing.
“Is he the only survivor? He doesn’t seem to be afraid of me, is it because he was so hungry?”
Valenor had a look in her eyes as she stared and me holding a child orc in my arms, feeding him from my bottle.
I looked around with my ownership view, hoping to find any other survivors as well as signs of Arin. However, the Wetheros Mountain Range was incredibly vast and it would take some time to sift through all the information.
“Found them, make sure to fly slowly this time Valenor.This baby Orc is very weak and might die.”
Valenor was travelling the slowest I had ever seen her fly, but we still quickly closed the 20km gap with Arin. The group chasing her seems a bit strange, but fortunately I could see that she was uninjured.
“Over there Valenor, go down towards Arin!”