CHAPTER 96: THUNDER AND FIRE
All of them are brandishing their swords. They are practicing. His troops are all informed of the news and this morning they have started to move.
Their hearts are all restless anticipating the encounter.
Will they live? Will they perish? Such thoughts crossed their minds.
The kobold, talented swordsmen swing their sword gracefully and blissfully during the practice showing their swordsmanship.
They are great swordsman, practicing swordsmanship in earnest. It is through looking at them Arial also have started creating another technique.
The Heaven Punishment Style.
In martial art, there is technique when talking about external attack and internal attack but in swordsmanship of higher technique it is called style.
It is created or learned from some masters of sword.
Mastering the sword is a discipline of the mind and body, and was meant to help live righteously.
Though it can also be seen as an art of killing.
It depends on the person.
During Arial years in the Library he learned a lot of swordsmanship but he always has trouble executing it.
It is no problem when he fights people with no basics but he knows that if he encountered a talented swordsman his skill is not in par.
It is because of the stiff move. He is too absorbed in executing the swordplay. So he found a solution.
Change it to something new.
It began with his technique. While he is no genius in creating something new, he combined the myriads of technique through trial and error.
Something that doesn’t restrict him and utilize his strength.
So he began creating his own technique and nowadays he is creating this style of swordsmanship.
Free, limitless, unrestricted, unpredictable like the wind, elusive as the clouds. You can lose yourself in it.
This is the style Arial is developing. Boundless like Heaven.
And the Kobold is delighted to help. They view swordsmanship as the God of War divine art.
The Kobold as Arial learned from Mikael, worships the God of War, a horned God that depicts him wearing man skin as his clothes, human skull as his goblet and both of his eyes a flaming eyeballs.
Behind him is the scene of carnage and his throne is a chair of swords filled with human, and other races skull.
To master the sword is their goal and fighting worthy men. They will not soil their swords with senseless murders.
Yet they do not underestimate the efforts of their fellow men. And challenging a dragon?
What honour will they achieve among their brethren if they succeed to do the unthinkable?
Arial have seen their swordsmanship.
Exquisite and overwhelming. They can kill anything with any slash. But would that work against a dragon?
This Arial doesn’t know.
They continued their journey when the dark Elves scouted out a path. They see the lair is high on the mountain.
Quickly they informed the others and we moved upwards.
The groups look upwards and gazed, wide-eyed, at their new and probably last destination.
‘Finally’ some say
Another is panting. Some is looking at the destination, dread filling him. Some look at it with a new determination.
Then Arial move and the other follow.
The expedition is proceeding with haste. As they climbed higher along the path made by the dwarves they encountered many monsters.
Sometimes they rest at some caves under the mountains and encounter monster that hid in the deep.
At times like that they killed it and it was at this time the companionship between Arial and Velamina grew.
They are comfortable in protecting each other in battle and Arial acknowledge the girl explosive power.
The Elves supports with arrows and magic while Orcs attack with their strength. Kobold uses their swordsmanship to slash and stab the monster to death.
Of course as mercenaries their priority is Arial safety. But Arial also join the fight killing as many as he can.
At night they stopped. At dawn they move. They climb. They stopped. Move. Climb. They are paving their way forward with every step.
Swiftly they advanced.
They sometimes encountered worms of the deep, fire Lizard, a small creature but can breathe fire, and the rain that comes day ago provide great opportunity for the elves to use their water magic to dispel these creatures.
Since dragon breath fires it was a good experience for them.
Finally after great pains and tribulation they arrived near the entrance of the lair.
The abundance of skulls, orcs skull, dwarves skull, elves and even some giants bone around the vicinity only strengthen their belief that a dragon is near this cave.
Every moment during the expedition, Arial have trained himself, in strengthening his internal energy and polishing his technique.
He tries to teach Mikael but he is not interested though he knew some healing magic. Sometimes he heals the injured soldier and his proficiency’s in medicine is remarkable.
He also collects herbs, rare ones during our journey. Sometimes he orders the troops to find some leaves or seed.
Thinking about it, he is descended from a High elf so it is no wonder that he has magic in his blood.
Not to mention he is a great scholar, learning from the text of the First Generation.
And his healing magic is not one Arial underestimate. It has saved many of Arial troops after they are attacked by monsters or because of some unpredictable storm, from poison snakes and scorpions.
Velamina is also talented in such arts and in battle she provided healing but since she is more valuable as a warrior she rarely used her magic instead relying on her godly speed.
That is how Arial describe her speed.
Meanwhile the pain is getting stronger and at night Mikael will always use his healing magic to soothe the pain and it worked.
But of course it does not expel the poison.
Maybe if Arial met him earlier during the early stages of the poison he might have been able to expel the poison but after this long, Arial hope is resting upon this gambit.
Sometimes in the morning Arial could hear the whooshing of a large creature and he realizes that the dragons find his food in the morning and sleep at night.
They both formulate strategies on how to fight the dragons.
Velamina with her strength and fast moves are also included in their discussion.
The mercenaries are informed by their team leader so does the kobold and the Elves. The Elves will act as support from the back providing healing magic and explosive magic.
Kobold and Orcs as the group frontline. Dwarves are behind them as Arial and Velamina is on the front because of their prowess skills and strength.
The Elves are divided into support magic division and archer division. We planned to attack the dragon when it is asleep.
But Velamina tell us that dragons are random. Sometime they sleep in the morning, sometimes they sleep at night. It depends on their moods.
And now we are in front of the lair.
‘Let us enter.’ Arial said and they moved their trembling knees inside the lair.
Mikael is outside. He will wait outside. Arial’s order. After all even if Arial could win against the dragon what use if Mikael is dead?
Who would transfer the heart if Mikael died?
The group looks with wonders as they looked to their left and right admiring the huge cavern.
It looks like a natural made wonder. It is not just huge, it is gigantic. You could see hills in the caverns.
Imagine like you are entering a wide plains only the top is a ceiling of stones. It could even fit a city in this cavern.
It is a massive wide cavern, with high ceiling. The walls are smooth indication that the dragon scrapes the side of this cavernous nightmare.
The droplets of water create a sound that reverberates around the cavern.
‘It’s here’ Velamina whisper. Arial nodded
‘Whooo’ one of them exclaimed in delight.
‘What?’ Arial asked.
‘Look at this, Commander’ the dark elves say
‘Gold.’ The Elves is wide eyed.
I look around and see coins, jewels, precious metals, and weaponry and other riches scattered on the ground.
‘Idiot, that belong to a dead guy.’ One Orc chimed in.
It is regarded by Orc culture to be unlucky to wear a dead man belonging. Though not in Elves culture. I look and there is many more that I could see.
If we won I can grab all this on the way back. Maybe I can give it to the mercenaries, since I have enough back home.
There is a lot more skulls in here then outside.
There are ragged clothing from past dead adventurers, hoarded items of a magical nature, scepters, crowns, tiaras, rings, amulets, staffs, potions, gemstones, artifacts, robes, knives, chalices, and many other stuff, that if sold would make any man in this expedition rich.
Velamina eyed them carefully.
‘You can take it after we won’ and that make her happy after I said that.
This dragon must have lived long.
We see some dragon scales as we walked deeper. And the tension comes. The dragon is here that is for sure.
The deeper we go, the clearer the sound.
Powerful inhaling and exhaling that reverberates throughout the chamber, of the cavern with sounds that terrify us.
Some trembled. Then we perked our ears up as we hear a sound. A rumbling snoring sound. We walked cautiously.
‘He is sleeping’ Arial told Velamina. She nodded.
‘Our chance.’ Velamina grin. Arial nodded.
There is some understanding between these two warriors. They have shared many journeys fighting monster in the region so their compatibility and understanding are high.
Arial then notice some blood in Velamina hand.
‘Are you alright?’ She looked at her hands as Arial gaze is around that area.
‘Only a scratch. During climbing to the lair entrance.’
‘Don’t worry.’ She said and she performed healing magic on her hand. The wound disappear as the skin stitched itself.
Arial nodded. They then focused at the matter at hand. They take careful steps. Stealth and silence.
Sweats are formed, careful not to wake the beast.
‘What are you planning?’ Velamina whispered as she sees Arial began unsheathe his sword. Arial gestured to the dragon and convey his plan with gestures.
Arial is planning to stab the dragon to death.
‘We need to come closer’ Arial whisper. And that thought fill him with dread.
Arial chest tightens as they come closer to the dragon. Arial order the rest to stop as only him and Velamina will approach the beast. They nodded.
‘This may end just like this.’ The other nodded. They were praying it to be like that.
Then finally they arrived as Arial and Velamina approached the dragon. For the first few second they are awestruck.
The dragon is large. And at this Arial remembered few of the points that make a dragon a veritable nightmare.
They can gnaw steel like it is a twig and the only thing that can hurt a dragon profoundly is an Enochian Blade.
At least that is what he knew of dragons.
Not to say that normal weapons couldn’t kill it but it will take an army to even slow it down. In the air, it is invisible but in ground, restricted by the sky Arial might have a chance.
‘Look at that’ Velamina pointed at the scales.
Velamina once told Arial that if she survives and they won, she would like a few scales for her to grind.
The dragon’s body is completely covered with tough, shiny scales. On its chest is jeweled breastplate almost like a warrior.
A warrior dragon.
The scales are pentagonal, and shaped like a teardrop, with two long sides and two shorter ones, and a very short fifth side attached to the skin.
In their normal position, the scales overlap very neatly and, thanks to a tiny cavity in the surface, they fit into each other to allow perfect freedom of movement.
‘Look at his color too’ Arial remarked.
His skin hues of variety of colors.
In general, its scales are several hues from one of the main color categories, with a metallic luster which is hard to define.
When the scales have a pale, opaque appearance, it is a sure sign of ill health.
‘And he seems to be ill.’ Velamina noted while showing a grin. Arial also flashed a satisfied smile.
‘Good opportunity for the group’ He says
The other is in a safe distance. They are just looking from the hills in the cavern, hoping that the beast would not awoke and Arial would just jump and stabbed the beast to death already.
‘Will it end like this?’ Arial wondered.
Arial approached it slowly when suddenly the dragon opens its eyes. Arial heart is beating fast.
It feels like his heart is about to explode. It was glowing red and it glared with furiousness at Arial.
‘Fuck’ he muttered under his breath.
The group trembled at the back and their fears are manifested on their expression. The dragon is awaked. And it is about to wreak havoc.
‘Arghh’ some yelled, their scream is full with dread. It flapped its wings and the force created by simply flapping its wings was enormous.
The winds are like storms. Wind is raging through the cavernous area. Some are thrown back, hitting their body to the stony surface and the hills around the caverns.
Some are smashed to death by its force.
It roars like thunder.
Some people were thrown back by its intensity. Their ears seem to be bleeding and their knees and hands are trembling with absolute fear.
Some of them turned and tried to escape. The Kobold on the other hand prepares their swords, unsheathing it with calm and ferocity in their eyes.
The Orcs prepare their mace.
The Dark Elves some of them tried to escape, with their hands on their ears, dripping blood from their nose and ears.
The Dwarves seem dazed.
The dragons move and began flapping his wing, showing its massive wing and creating a storm in the area and Arial had to dodge the wind gust as the dragon flew upwards and broke the first level of the ceiling of the cavern and swooped down and eat the dark Elves as screams filled the lair.
Arial looked upward and notice there is another layer of ceiling. This cavern is huge he mused.
Arial is trying to use the cavern to his advantage but before he could see any further he realizes that the stone ceiling is falling and will crush his troops.
‘Dodge’ Arial yelled to Velamina as he sees the debris of the ceiling began falling down to the ground.
The other is not so lucky.
Some were crushed to a puddle of blood when a huge rock lodged dive onto an Orc. But Velamina is calm and collected and shows her agility.
Velamina are like the wind, dodging, using the debris as a stepping stone to approach the flying dragon.
She even had the chance to provoke Arial, grinning at him, like saying ‘Come if you dare’
Arial could not help but marvel her agility in battle. The unlucky ones were crushed to death, their screams resound in the caverns.
Blood flowed. Screams heard. Pain and carnage began.
‘SET THE FORMATION. THIS IS IT. LET US FIGHT! ATTACK!’ Arial jump and led the charge with glint of fire in his eyes.
Some took a smart approach and hide around hill inside the caverns and attack from a distance.
The dwarves also use the same approach.
The Kobold and the Orc started an all-out assault. It swings its tail and two of Arial troops were smashed to death on the nearby wall, leaving a stain of blood in the wall surface of the cavern.
Then the dragons opened his mouth and Arial seeing this yelled. Arial could see fire is forming from his large throat.
‘RUN FROM HIS PATH!’ Then fire, of such heat poured from his mouth, melting Orcs, Kobolds and Elves and hills, stones and metals.
The shield melted into molten metal merging with the swords and axes and maces.
Fire that melted everything. Fire that melted anything.
For a moment, all Arial could smell is fire and charred corpse. The smell of death is all around him but he is lucky in that he avoided the fire in time.
This is a dragon. You do not underestimate it.
In one attack 100 of his troops fall in battle. All turned to charred ashes and the smell is revolting. It is lucky that they did not meet this beast in an open plain.
Arial believed if they met it at an open plain, his one breath could burn 3000 troops or maybe more. The cavern surrounding help restrict its movement.
The sight of the dragon is monstrous.
The world shakes. Hills and rocks were melted in fiery breaths. This is why dragons are called the strongest creature in the world.
Velamina pulled out her sword and rushed forward fearlessly.
‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING ARIAL! LET’S KILL THIS BEAST!’ she screamed as she swings her sword and something slices the air around the dragon and it hit the dragon.
A powerful force came from her sword. And it snapped the dragon. Arial knew she is not an ordinary woman.
After he calms himself, taking a deep breath, he entered the battle.
They are tangling with an ancient creature, powerful and imposing. Every slash of Arial sword has tremendous crushing power.
If it was human he is fighting, no one would survive his slash.
Every strike sends a shakes to the surrounding and to those who look it was like the Battle of the Gods.
With endless stamina, Velamina is running around on the dragon large body inflicting damage while avoiding being burned by the dragon breath.
The constant hunting has improved Velamina speed and dodging abilities.
Arial and Velamina is dancing around the dragon, a perfect balance of speed and power, overwhelming the sick and awakened dragon.
‘They are monsters’ the Kobold said while looking at Velamina and Arial fighting the beast on equal grounds.
They all looked from the grounds as each slash produce a spark of fire and produces sound waves.
Imagine this scene.
A woman and a young man are using their surroundings, the nearby cliff, and the jagged cavern wall, to fly around the dragons, jumping and dodging its tail.
Running around its body, avoiding its claws and its fiery breath while slicing, slashing, stabbing their way around the dragons.
Every strike, every slash imparted itself on the cavern.
Each time their weapon strikes the dragon, a sound like thunder is produced and all around this two warriors are fire and blood.
Velamina technique that infuses mana on her attack made even the Dark Elves trembles in their spot.
The sound of a thunder and thunder that is produced by Velamina strikes, sparks are formed everywhere.
They are fearless. They are inevitable. They are…….something else.
The Orcs is ashamed at themselves to lose heart after the first attack.
‘Let us help them.’ Quickly the mercenaries enter battle again but everyone knew that this battle will be decided by Arial and Velamina.
Whether they will live or die here.
They joined and try to inflict damage to the dragon feet which jutted out thanks to Aral and Velamina who is blocking the dragon to fly to the second layer of the cavern, that is restricted by Arial and Velamina constant attack while the group marvel the cooperation between Arial and Velamina.
A legend is born that day.
Arial does not hesitate to protect Velamina and Velamina protect Arial back, providing distraction. And thus begins their battle.
With thunder and fire.