Translated by: SaltyTank
Edited by: crimsonwolf8439
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Hiring mercenaries required money, which was why Achilles and Sleipnir were muttering ‘We’re screwed……’ in disbelief right now. While the Derhii did not sign a formal contract with the two dragons, the duo still had to reward them for their participation and compensate their losses. As for the Udaeus, they were contracted mercenaries, and had to pay a certain amount of gold for their assistance in battle. Thankfully, the Lammasu was a warrior of justice who volunteered to help and did not demand anything in return. They searched around the mushroom garden filled with fire elements along with Elialaz, only to find nothing but Myceloids hiding within the bunch of mushrooms on the logs.
How they managed to communicate with the Myceloids was a mystery, but that was irrelevant at the moment — they realized that the mana-filled mushrooms could be sold for a decent price. Grown on precious treant logs and immersed in dense dragon mana, the mushrooms were extremely rare materials which could be used to make potions and for alchemy purposes. Even after Claudius abandoned the lair, the mushrooms were still growing, albeit being less valuable due to the absence of dragon mana supply. In fact, Achilles could simply move his lair slightly towards the mushroom garden to grow mushrooms which had properties of the water element, unlike Claudius’ mushrooms which had properties of the fire element — the element of the mushrooms depended on the element of the dragon mana they were immersed in.
Hundreds of kilometres away, Claudius was sunbathing on the mountain slope. For obvious reasons, he was ignorant of the loot distribution going on in his lair, but he did not care much about his possessions in the first place. The wounds and injuries were gradually recovering thanks to his high Constitution while the warm sunlight calmed his mind. Without the interference of battle, the frostbitten organs were slowly being thawed by the circulation of fire element-filled blood.
“If only this was a volcano, I would be fully healed after taking a nap in lava……” Claudius thought while enjoying the warm and cosy feeling which he had not felt in a while.
Beside Claudius were a few bloody spears poking out of the ground. These were originally the short spears used by the Udaeus, but now they served another purpose; the spears were used as a marking to indicate the locations where he planted his teeth. Claudius fully knew that knowledge from his Earthly days was a lot of times inaccurate, but he still went ahead and tried planting Udaeus soldiers with his own teeth nonetheless; it did not cost anything anyways. The legends regarding Udaeus on Earth were rather vague, but it was clear that planting the soldiers was nothing like planting crops. Claudius thought that a few spells or rituals had to be casted for it to succeed, but he lacked the knowledge to do so. Trying to grow Udaeus just by covering dragon teeth in soil was pretty much a joke.
The integrity and morality of the Mages of the Seashore was not something to be overestimated; they had a nice history of messing up their own plot and setting. Whether or not Claudius would actually grow Udaeus was all up to the Mages, but things were already set the moment he buried his teeth in the soil. The Mages were all conservatives who supported the dragon with an Earthly human soul, thus they would faithfully follow the plot of a certain ancient myth — they were nothing but small fries when up against ancient Greek gods.
Just when Claudius was about to construct a lair since his injuries no longer hindered his movement, he sensed the change from underneath the ground. The soil where the teeth were buried curved upwards slightly and the dragon blood on the surface was all sucked into the ground without a trace. Faint heartbeats could be heard when Claudius stuck his ears to the floor.
“The heck? It actually worked?” Even Claudius himself was amazed. “I never thought that it would work though. It was just a random experiment in the first place……”
However, he did make a slight error. Similar to newbie stock traders who thought they earned money while it was actually book profit, Claudius assumed that the reaction from the ground meant he had succeeded — no one knew what was underground at this stage.
These turn of events did excite Claudius a bit, but he was not so foolish or impatient as to immediately dig the soil and see what happened. After observing the soil for a while, he proceeded with his original plan. The texture of the rocks on the island was slightly tougher than clay, making it quite suitable for excavating caves. Melting the rocky surface with his flames, Claudius dug the semi-molten rocks with his claws with ease. To be honest, it was an inefficient method. Given the sharpness of his claws, Claudius could have just straight out dug with his claws. It would almost have been like digging soil with a shovel as his claws were tougher than steel and were as sharp as magic swords with several enchantments.
Typical dragons usually first dug a long, winding tunnel which led to a large room, usually used as a living room. They would then dig another tunnel from the living room, connecting the treasure chamber which also served as the sleeping room. Of course, the tunnels would be filled with traps after construction. To Claudius, it was redundant and boring. All his previous lairs or caves were in the shape of a cashew nut, and the newest one was no exception. The entrance was a simple one; it was basically a large opening from where he began digging. On the other end was an air passageway around the height and width of 2 adult humans. Obviously, it was the air ventilation system for his lair, allowing fresh air to constantly enter the cave inside the mountain by throughflow. Perhaps Claudius was a slight neat freak……
Claudius then expanded his cave within the mountain. The ceiling of the cave was roughly 40 metres above sea level, almost as tall as the mountain itself, whereas the entrance was at 10 metres above sea level. The cave itself was not as deep as his previous lairs; the deepest part was no deeper than 40 metres. The outer walls were also merely 5 to 6 metres thick, but were sufficient to support the cave. Instead, it had a width of 100 metres, which was a large place for Claudius. The inner walls were all rough and scratched from all the digging, but the inhabitant himself had no intentions of decorating or smoothing out the surface. He also specifically flattened the area near the entrance and removed the rocks above to create an outdoors platform, which also allowed him to have brief view of the exterior even from deep within the cave. As mentioned before, this was a rocky mountain without a beach, thus the edge of the platform was a cliff which led straight to the bedrock beneath the sea. From Claudius’ observations, the surrounding sea was at least 50 metres deep.
“It seems that I, once again, became a fisherman. Sigh, I can’t even grow mushrooms here. What’s with this dull menu……”Claudius complained.
Claudius planned to stay on the island for a while, leaving revenge for a later date. Yet this was a bit of a naïve thought; he totally forgot that the surrounding seas lacked fish due to the raging sea currents. To satisfy his monstrous appetite, he would have to travel tens of kilometres out to the coral reefs or open sea, but that region was a trading route frequented by cargo ships, not to mention the humans living on the nearby islands. It would be undoubtedly be a problem for a Crimson Dragon to appear near human civilization regularly.
The residents of these islands were mostly pirates or people who dealt in illegal trades though. If Claudius knew of this, he could easily live leisurely on his own rocky island. He could just threaten to destroy their islands, then demand a ‘protection fee’……