“Your Imperial Majesty!” a man wearing a military outfit with five stars on his shoulder ran into a throne room and shouted at the top of his lungs. “An ocean-blue dragon is heading this way! It flew straight through the empire, ignoring everything—we haven’t even received any reports from the cities it passed because it’s too fast! You can see it on the horizon!”
“Eh? A dragon?” the emperor asked as he stood up. “I thought dragons didn’t interfere in the wars between humans and dwarves.”
“It isn’t a holy dragon, Your Imperial Majesty!” the general said and saluted. “It might be flying overhead without any intent of attacking, but the palace is in its course of flight. And you know how non-holy dragons appreciate shiny things. It might attack just for fun!”
“Ah, then is there anything we can do?” the emperor asked and tilted his head.
“I’ve come to move you to the shelter,” the general said before sweeping his gaze across the nobles in the throne room. “Please, come with me before the dragon arrives.”
“Mm, alright,” the emperor said with a nod. The nobles in the court stood up as well, chattering amongst themselves.
“Please, hurry up, Your Imperial Majesty,” the general said, beads of sweat rolling down his head as the emperor staggered out of the throne. “We don’t have much—”
A crash resounded through the building as cracks formed on the ceiling, causing dust to rain down on the people in the throne room. A tearing sound that echoed like thunder exploded out from above as sunlight poured onto the general and emperor. The nobles screamed and fell to their knees as the ceiling was tossed aside like a garbage can’s lid, revealing a scaly face with golden eyes. The dragon roared, silencing the crowd, before shrinking and hopping into the room. As the dragon shrank, it took on a humanoid form. By the time it landed on the floor, the dragon had turned into a shirtless human.
Vur placed his hands on his hips, letting the aura from the rune on his forehead wash over the nobles in the room. Stella complained about it giving her a headache, but Vur stuffed her into his chest. “My name is Vur Besteck, king of the dwarves! I’ve come to beat up your emperor and force him to surrender!” His gaze swept across the room before landing on the emperor. Someone charged out of the shadow of a pillar before anyone could react, stabbing a dagger at Vur. Vur swiped down with his right hand as if he were swatting a fly, and the ambusher flew backwards into the palace walls, crashing and crumpling into a heap on the floor. Vur blinked at the emperor. “Ah? You’re a skele—”
“Vur Besteck!” the emperor said, his booming voice cutting off Vur’s sentence. “You said you were the king of the dwarves?”
“That’s right,” Vur said with a nod. “But why are you a skele—”
“Ah!” the emperor said, clapping his hands together in front of his chest. “After witnessing your power, I, the emperor, Albert Vollmert, yield my throne to you.”
“Huh?” Vur asked. Then he nodded. “Okay. But why are you a skele—”
“Your Imperial Majesty!”
The emperor raised his hand to silence the nobles. “You’ve seen it for yourselves. The king of the dwarves is a dragon.” He raised his hands and lifted the crown off of his head. “There’s nothing shameful in surrendering to a dragon. If we don’t give him what he wants, the empire may even be completely destroyed.”
“We can fight him! The Fangs of Capitis can slay a dragon!”
“Silence!” the emperor shouted. “The Fangs of Capitis aren’t here. If you’re dissatisfied, then fight this dragon right here, right now. If you win, I’ll even give you the throne.”
The noble who shouted shut his mouth and stared at the ground, his fists trembling.
Vur tilted his head to the side and took the crown from the emperor’s offering hands. “Damnedism?” Vur asked as he put the crown on his head.
“Damnedism,” the emperor said with a nod.
“Huh. Auntie didn’t tell me she already conquered the humans,” Vur said. The rune on his forehead stopped glowing as he yawned and scratched his belly. “So I’ve been warring against Mr. Skelly?”
“That’s right,” the emperor said with a nod, ignoring the confused expressions of the nobles around them. “No wonder why we encountered so many setbacks. Mr. Skelly was getting upset that he had to fight fairly. And you said the mistress was here? She’s not being held hostage?”
“No? Auntie’s fine. She’s doing something to the people in the dwarven dungeons,” Vur said. “Why are all of you here anyway?”
The emperor’s face fell. “The previous continent was conquered by a tyrant with no regard for life, living or undead. There was nothing we could do, so we fled here to seek help from the mistress.”
“Huh?” Vur asked, his eyes widening. “What about Mom and Dad? And Grandpa and Prika?”
“Oh, your family’s a bit too scary for us to approach, so we didn’t ask them for help,” the emperor said. “And Prika’s the tyrant. She wants everyone to wear pink robes on Fridays. Even the undead! Can you believe that?”
“What? How evil!” Vur said. “You did right in coming here. I’ll go tell Auntie right away. But why couldn’t you just contact her the normal way?”
“We tried, but we could only reach Grimmoldesser,” the emperor said. “We received some strange orders to conquer everything. But it looks like you did it first.” He clapped his hand on Vur’s shoulder. “Good job.”
Vur nodded. “So this whole continent’s mine now?” he asked and looked around. The nobles were on the ground, kneeling towards him. “That was a lot easier than expected. Tell Mr. Skelly to host a big ceremony to unite the continent. Invite everyone: dwarves, humans, elves, fishmen. Everyone. One week from now at the city in the center of the continent—the one where you disappeared my dwarves. Make sure everyone knows I’m the host.”
“Understood,” the emperor said with a nod. “What about the holy dragons?”
“I’ll ask Lulu to do that,” Vur said. “I don’t think you’ll be able to ask them to come before being destroyed. Oh, invite the phoenix matriarch too.” He scratched his head. “Tafel should be able to find me now, right? She said I had to make a name for myself if we got separated. Maybe it’s not enough.”