Chapter 74

Randel slammed his fist onto the armrest of his throne. “What do you mean Johann is rampaging?” the king asked the sentry who was on his knees in front of him. “Get Exzenter and have him come over here. Immediately!”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” the sentry said. He stood up and sprinted out of the room without looking back. Randel exhaled and clenched his fist. The words of the pope echoed in his ears, ‘Imagine if a sacred spirit rested in his body instead of blessing it.’

His eyes narrowed and he turned to Gale. “Bring the pope here,” Randel said. “I need to ask him a few questions.”

Gale saluted. “Ye-“

“Your Majesty!” A sentry burst through the doors. “A black dragon has appeared outside of the temple along with the corrupted one! They’re just sitting outside, but that can change at any moment. The pope is still inside the temple with the winners.”

Randel’s face paled. “When Exzenter arrives, tell him to stop Johann with Geralt and his men. Johann must be subdued and not killed,” the king said to the sentry. He whipped his head towards Gale. “Come with me.”

Randel and Gale left the throne room, leaving the sentry to deliver the message to Exzenter. “Where are we going, Your Majesty?” Gale asked as the two descended down a spiral staircase.

“The Vault of the Spirits,” Randel said as he led Gale down an unlit corridor. He opened a plain wooden door at the end and stepped inside. Glowing white crystals littered the floor and illuminated the room.

Gale’s eyes widened. “These are…”

“Correct,” Randel said as he picked up a crystal. It looked similar to the ones in the cluster that the pope had lit on fire to summon the yellow smoke. “The pope is the capital’s strongest defender with these crystals in his hand. However, he’s cornered by a dragon and can’t access them.” Randel’s gaze locked onto Gale’s. “It’s up to you—the archbishop closest in line to becoming the next pope—to call upon our ancestors to defend the capital. I will try to negotiate with the corrupted one, but if things cannot be settled peacefully, then you are our last hope.”

Gale shuddered. “I understand, Your Majesty,” Gale said as he lowered his head. “I will do my best.”

“Of course. I expect nothing less,” he said and removed the ring he was wearing. He passed it to Gale. “This ring will shatter if I die.” Randel stared into Gale’s eyes. He pat Gale’s shoulder, then stood up to leave the room.

##################################################################

“Who’s this Johann?” Grimmy asked as he poked the unconscious Rudolph. His snout crinkled and he turned away. “Such a bad smelling contract magic.”

“Johann’s the big blue do- dragon. He’s Rudolph’s contracted beast,” Michelle said. She turned towards Vur. “Please, you have to help him. Johann really respects you and you’re really strong. I don’t think Geralt can save him if he’s in danger.” A chill rolled down her spine as she stared into Vur’s eyes.

“Who are you?” Tafel asked as she narrowed her eyes at Michelle. Her grip on Vur’s hand tightened.

“I’m Michelle Heilig, daughter of the pope,” Michelle said with a slight curtsy. “You are?”

“Tafel Besteck,” Tafel said, her eyes sweeping over the group by the temple entrance. “Vur’s fiancée. Oh. And the current demon lord.” Every human’s body stiffened, except for Vur.

Vur turned to Tafel and tilted his head. “You’re my fiancée?” he asked.

“Am I not?” Tafel asked as she glared at him. “Don’t you remember what we promised each other when we were little?”

Vur smiled and gazed into Tafel’s eyes. “Then I guess you are.” The two stared into each other’s eyes.

“Ahem, ahem.” Lillian cleared her throat. “Johann. Danger. Help? Yes, no?”

“No.”

Everyone turned to stare at Grimmy.

“Aren’t you a dragon? How could you abandon your own kind?” the pope asked as he stepped forward.

The ground underneath Grimmy’s claws shattered. He snorted and lowered his head to look down on the pope. “You humans stole a dragon egg and now want our help when you can’t control it? What a joke,” Grimmy said as smoke creeped out of his mouth and his eyes narrowed. “Don’t ever forget your place, human.”

Vur frowned. “Johann was nice to me,” he said to Grimmy. “We should at least check what’s happening to him.”

Grimmy blinked his eyes and turned towards Vur. He chuckled. “Alright,” he said. He looked at Lindyss. “Looks like he’s all grown up; this is the first time he disagreed with me.” He placed Vur and Tafel on his forehead as Lindyss climbed onto his claw with Floofykins. His eyes flickered to the pope. “Of course, I’ll be expecting a reward for this. And I’ll be taking it whether you like it or not.” He leapt into the air.

“The royal castle!” Michelle yelled from the ground. “Johann’s staying at the castle!”

##################################################################

The king rode on a horse, heading towards the exit of the royal castle. A shadow blotted out the sun and landed behind him. His face paled as he turned around and stared at Grimmy. He gulped.

“Grimmy, you almost squished the king,” Lindyss said as she saw the trembling king who was just thrown off by his horse. “No amount of loopholes in the contract would’ve saved it.”

“Well, he’s still alright, yeah?” Grimmy asked as he turned around. “See, just a little shaky and frightened. Maybe his pants are soiled, but that’s it. He’ll be fine.”

The king took in a deep breath and stuck out his chest. His body trembled as he asked, “May I know what you are doing in my kingdom?”

Grimmy blinked. “Sightseeing.”

“S-sightseeing?” the king asked.

“Yup, but then we encountered the prince who wanted us to help him with his Johann problem,” Grimmy said. “He promised to give us the royal treasury as payment.”

“That’s…”

“What? Does the royal family renege on their deals?” Grimmy asked as he leered at the king. “I think I understand how they came into power. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to them.”

“F-fine. The royal treasury for your assistance,” the king said as he gritted his teeth.

Grimmy smiled and Lindyss sighed.

##################################################################

Charon sneezed as he dusted off a book. “It feels like I’m forgetting something,” he mumbled to himself. “Like, future of the world important…”

He frowned and stepped to the window. He stared into the horizon, almost as if he was seeing past the ocean and into Fuselage.

“Well. If it was that important, then I wouldn’t have forgotten it,” he said as he scratched his naked legs.

He turned back to the book.

 

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