“Why can’t I play with Tafel anymore?” Vur asked Sera. The five dragons were sunbathing in the valley and Lindyss was knitting while using Grimmy’s wing for shade.
“The demons don’t like us,” Sera said as she scratched Snuffles belly. “They’re scared of what we can do. It makes them jumpy and on edge when we visit them.”
“But they should be, right?” Vur asked. “We’re dragons. Does it matter what they want?”
Sera sighed. “Dragon’s aren’t invincible, Vur. If they really had to, they would be able to kill some of us, but they’d lose too much. We’d win the war and wipe them all out, but none of us,” Sera lifted her head and looked towards the dragons, “want to see each other die. The demons don’t bother us, and we don’t bother them.”
Vur frowned. “Are they really that strong?”
Grimmy nodded. “I remember when the humans first invaded. They were pretty strong. They could kill bears and force the elves back. They even managed to take over the fairy queen’s cave. Honestly, no one really cared about that though since fairies are annoying. The demons might seem weak now, but that’s only because the strongest ones seem to disappear after a few adventures in the wilderness.”
“Grimmy’s right. I’ve seen many adventurers come for my fountain of youth,” Lindyss said. “Sometimes, the same adventurers come back after many years stronger than before. They tell me stories in exchange for liquid from the fountain. There’s a man called Charon who has visited me eight times already. The world’s a lot bigger than you think.”
“I want to see Tafel,” Vur said and lowered his head.
“Tafel’s a princess,” Lindyss said. “Princesses rarely associate with nobles, much less commoners. She’s the future of the country even if she doesn’t become the demon lord. Political marriages to unite factions are pretty common amongst the demons and humans. If I’m not mistaken, the current demon lord is in a political marriage with his wife.”
“Wouldn’t marrying Tafel to Vur be good for them then?” Prika asked. “Peace with the dragons wou-, actually, never mind. We don’t bother them too much anyway.”
Lindyss nodded. “The humans wouldn’t like that very much either and they’d probably declare war. The dragons probably wouldn’t fly out to help fight against them, no offense,” Lindyss said, “so it’s actually a loss to marry Tafel to Vur instead of using her to keep the nobles in check. And can you imagine the outrage of the people if they marry her to a human?”
“But Tafel’s going to marry me,” Vur said with a frown. “We promised.”
“Oh?” Prika said. “You sure work fast. Feeling jealous over there?” Prika turned towards Lindyss.
“Shut up,” Lindyss said and threw a lightning bolt at Prika. Prika swatted it away with her paw and laughed.
“When did you get so brave?” she asked and sighed. “I miss the days when you would tremble in your boots when you saw me.”
“Well, I guess it’s okay. You’re more like Vur’s older sister than his wife,” Prika said. “It’s a shame. A real shame. You two would’ve made some cute babies.”
Lindyss threw another lightning bolt at Prika.
“If you want to marry Tafel,” Lindyss said as she turned towards Vur, “you’ll have to become a noble.”
“How do I do that?” Vur asked.
“It’s simple. Get the human king’s attention and have him bestow you a title,” she said and paused, “good attention, not the ‘I burned down your city’ kind of attention. Becoming an SSS ranked adventurer will probably do it.”
“That sounds easy,” Vur said.
“That’s because that’s the easy part,” Lindyss said. “The hard part is learning the etiquette of the nobles. And you’ll have to unite the humans and the demons, but the former is definitely harder for you.”
Vur frowned and tilted his head.
“Don’t worry; it’ll be easy to find you a teacher.”
“The undead are approaching!”
Gale looked up from his book and retrieved his equipment from the corner of the room. He donned his mithril robe and equipped his staff. He stepped out of the stone building and saw paladins, priests, knights, and demons rushing into the courtyard in front of the gate. The ground shook and a cloud of dust rose in the horizon.
“Let them approach the walls and have the white mages rain purification down on them when they get close enough,” Dustin said, “and have archers with silver and mithril tipped arrows at the ready.”
The ground trembled and the stone buildings started to shake. “They’re almost here,” an archer in one of the two watchtowers said.
Dustin stood on top of the wall with Gale. “What do you think?” Gale asked.
“It’s going to be a long battle. The undead don’t get tired and they don’t get hungry. They can wait us out for weeks and strike when we’re exhausted if we don’t get reinforcements,” Dustin said and sighed. “We only have so much mana that can be used a day.”
The ground stopped trembling and the undead cavalry formed a neat rectangle, 500 by 200 riders with one undead at the front. The undead rider at the head of the formation stepped forward and looked right at Dustin and Gale.
“A duel!” the undead knight said. It’s voice was grating and sounded like rocks grinding against each other.
“Send your most noble human,” it said. “If he wins, we’ll leave.”
“You expect us to believe that?” Gale asked.
The undead knight nodded. “You have no choice,” it said and waved at the army of 100,000 knights behind it.
Gale’s face paled when he saw the sea of black knights.
“I’ll go!” a knight wearing full mithril plate mail said as he stepped to the front of the courtyard. “Open the gates!”
Gale looked at Dustin and Dustin nodded. “There’s no other way,” Dustin said. The gate swung open a tiny bit and stopped. The undead cavalry didn’t move. The gate swung wide open and the blue knight stepped into the field with a morning star and kite shield. The gates closed behind him.
The undead knight got off his mount and waited for the knight to approach.
“My name is Opfern. I am the Baron of Blod,” the knight said as he raised his morning star towards the sky.
The undead knight rubbed his chin and nodded. “Alright, a baron. I surrender! You win,” it said. “Get him boys!”
“Huh?” Opfern said.
The undead cavalry all charged forward and Opfern disappeared inside the mass.
“As per our agreement, we’ll be leaving now!” the undead knight said while cackling.
“Those cowards!” Gale shouted. “Fire the arrows!”
A layer of arrows flew towards the mass. The undead cavalry all turned around and ran the other way before the arrows reached them. A cloud of dust was left behind as they galloped away.
The garrison was silent as the men watched the undead knights get further and further away.
A voice broke the silence.
“Did that really just happen?”