Translated by: SaltyTank
Edited by: crimsonwolf8439
Sorry for skipping the release on Saturday, crim is busy with life so only one chapter today 🙁 It would *probably* get better soon, but no promises.
You should probably read this before proceeding to the chapter ._.
Anyways, it seems that a lot of you guys are somewhat disappointed with the plot, and I wanna talk about it after reading like 20 something chapters ahead. The more I read the novel, the more it feels like a Slice of Life novel instead of adventure and stuff like that. All the random fights, random lair building and settling down in random places were most likely due to Claudius not being ‘powerful’ enough. I don’t want to spoil too much of the upcoming plot, but some of you might find it less interesting (or more for some) as the next 5 chapters or so are more narrative-oriented, describing what is happening in Claudius’ surroundings and stuff related to his Udaeus’ instead of focusing on Claudius’ actions (well, he’s hibernating so there’s that). In about 8 or 9 chapters, old characters from the previous Volume/Arc like his lil’ sister Britannia will be making their appearance once again. It will become more ‘plot-related’ at that point, so please try and endure the next few chapters :3
Hope you guys will enjoy the series and not drop it now, it makes me sad :o(
The young person who spoke was a Paladin blessed by god. His strength and divine powers were powerful despite his young age, and this enhanced his Wisdom stat as a side effect. That was why he could sense the right direction even though Claudius’ dragon aura could not be felt at that distance.
At the same time, the believers of Malar were also in a similar situation; they went down the wrong path as well. Claudius’ lair was located at a rough and ragged section inside the volcanic crater right next to an almost-vertical slope, making it impossible to descend from above unless one could fly. The magma moat surrounding his lair had also expanded quite a bit during the past few years as the magma continued to melt the surrounding rocks. Red hot magma kept seeping out from the cracks on the platform which Claudius was resting on, gradually hardening into black rock. Just when the rock layer was about to be formed, it would be torn apart by the underground pressure which forced more magma out of the gaps. The endless cycle repeated over and over again, making Claudius’ lair look like a red, massive spider web. The cause of the phenomena was none other than Claudius; Crimson Dragons were heat sources due to their nature which gathered fire elements. The magma beneath his platform was the hottest and most active inside the entire volcano.
The Fire Myceloids could not care less about the harsh environment, though. They were born in such intense heat, and their metallic nature allowed them to resist heat to a large extent. Their bodies could be used as raw materials and refined into heat-resistant metal alloys as well. Anyways, the Myceloids still carried out their duty of cleaning Claudius’ scales, keeping the dark crimson ‘armour’ shiny.
The Malar hunters’ aim was just to investigate and scout out the interior of the volcano. They were originally cautious hunters, and they were being extra careful this time as it was a massive operation dedicated to their god. Hunting a True Dragon was surely a holy event which would please their god, thus they decided to take it slowly. In fact, Malar was already rather glad as his followers had been slaughtering Umberlee’s underlings throughout the journey. The ‘gods of fury’ was never a united team; it was rather natural for them to be baring their fangs at one another. They were just a bunch of maniacs who loved seeing other gods suffer and were granted the name ‘gods of fury’ by others due to their similar nature.
Several squads of adventurers were treading the path near the lake of magma. Only the strong could pass through as even anti-fire magic and air magic could not completely erase the heat — magic was not omnipotent and had its limits as well. The adventurers breathed in the scorching air which reached over 150 degrees Celsius, only barely surviving thanks to the magic buffs. It still felt like breathing in a fireball every time they took a breath though, and the sweat evaporated through the skin pores before they could gather into drops of visible sweat. There were advanced magic spells which could negate the heat completely, but the adventurers had to hold back from such luxury as they had to preserve mana for the fight with the Crimson Dragon. They were alerted at all times as they did not know when they would run into the dragon due to the low visibility caused by sulphurous smoke.
The shore was not continuous as parts of it was flooded with magma. The adventurers had no choice but to climb the rocky walls to get over the flooded paths. They would be roasted to death while climbing tens of metres above the raging magma if not for their defensive buffs, but it was certainly worth the risk. The volcanic eruptions had brought magma along with minerals from deep underground, and these precious metals were scattered on the walls and inner platforms in the crater.
The crusaders were not interested in such natural treasures, but the adventurers had different thoughts. They stopped their march and began collecting the metals on the ground as pursuing further to find the Crimson Dragon was nothing but suicide to them. The adventurers used mini-pickaxes to break the rocks on the surface, carefully separating the tiny grains of metals from worthless rock and lining them up according to colour. Gold and silver were the easiest to spot as they were in relatively large pieces when compared to the grains of mithril and adamantite which were no larger than sand. The time needed to gather a little bottle of mithril grains was longer than needed to fill a leather pouch of gold or silver, but the abundance of the legendary metals in the volcano was already high enough to be considered as a mithril and adamantite mine. The low level adventurers who went on the journey to pursue the dragon were overwhelmed with joy that they completely forgot about the harsh journey as they continue to collect the precious metals, not to mention rare gems and diamonds which appeared from time to time during their mining session. The only reason stopping them from having a party immediately was the fact that a Crimson Dragon was residing somewhere inside the volcano.
Typical Crimson Dragon lairs consisted of multiple compartments connected with puzzle-like tunnels inside a volcano or mountain. Various traps would then be installed to kill invaders and magic alarms would be setup to notify the owner in case something managed to breach through a part of the traps. Claudius’ lair clearly did not have such advanced features; it was simply a rough platform surrounded by a wide magma moat, without any sort of traps, alarms and defenders. Unlike other Crimson Dragons who would station gnolls and ogres inside their lair as defensive troops, Claudius only had the Flame Myceloids who were no good at fighting. They could not even be considered as small fries for the invaders who were strong and brave enough to fight a Crimson Dragon.
The crusaders spent an entire day crossing the magma lake while the adventurers stayed behind and began mining. The journey across the lake was a tough one as the crusaders had to risk being found out by their target as they camped on ‘flatland’ using magic tools and magic. It was a challenging night even for the skilled warriors, but they still continued pressing on after offering a prayer to their gods in the morning.
Their target could finally be seen in the smoke after travelling further for a while. The massive Crimson Dragon had dark reddish scales which seemed to be well polished and its atrocious-looking head was half-submerged in a pool of magma. Its wide wings and muscular legs were stretched as the dragon was in a sleeping pose, clearly unaware of the invaders in the distance. Man-sized mushrooms which appeared to have limbs seemed to be waving their arms in a supposedly frightened gesture while shouting as well.
Actually, the Myceloids could rest easy as the crusaders were still separated from Claudius by a 30-metre-wide magma moat. The Paladins could not possibly extend their Smite Evil across the moat while the Priests were reluctant to launch a long range bombardment as it was simply not powerful enough to kill a Crimson Dragon which appeared to be in its adult stage, possibly older as well. The believers of Malar approached the sleeping dragon from the other side, but they only caught a glimpse of Claudius’ tail before retreating, hiding in the distance while waiting for an opportunity to steal the kill from the crusaders. Of course, they recorded all the data regarding the terrain and their target with magic before doing so.
The Flame Mycleoids always worked silently, but that did not mean that they were incapable of waking their master up. It was a comical scene which metallic mushrooms crashed into one another to create a large ‘Clang’ sound on top of the Crimson Dragon’s head, but that was not the main point.
Claudius lifted his head while shooting a column of magma from his nostrils. He opened his eyes shook his body sluggishly.
“Oh dear gods in heaven……”
The crusaders all began muttering their prayers in fear.