Chapter 236 The Land Cursed by the Dragons
Greem reached Skandre five days after the dragons had raided the city.
Standing on a tall peak on Mount Mingsu, Greem very clearly saw the pitiful capital and its sorrowful civilians walking about the debris and waste.
Along the way here, Greem had seen every human city of decent size raided by the dragons. This was the seventh human city he had seen that had been raided by the dragons. Moreover, it was the one that had been the most severely destroyed.
After all, this was the greatest and most magnificent city of radiance in the knights' kingdom– Skandre!
Sadly it had now been reduced to a broken city buried under rubble and crumbling walls.
Countless civilians that had lost their homes in the chaos were rummaging about the destroyed buildings, looking for food and clothing. Winding lines of refugee carts filled the streets of the city. Shouting and whinnying were everywhere to be heard. Dust and smoke lingered in the sky…
The buildings at the foot of the mountain were mostly still in decent condition. That was the civilian housing area and had not been raided much by the dragons. The damage to the architecture got increasingly worse with the height of the mountain. Greem saw that the more delicate and magnificent the building, the more severe the damage was.
It seemed that the dragons were extremely well-versed in the art of raiding and robbing!
Greem took off his hood and allowed his handsome face to be exposed under the sun.
Greem couldn't help but sigh in his heart when he looked down upon the tragic capital before him.
Once upon a time, the dragons had been the greatest trump card and protector of the human kings, as well as the solid foundation for maintaining their firm rule.
Since the appearance of the Dragon Valley in this plane several thousand years ago, the human kingdom had built a strong rapport and alliance with the dragons.
The dragons enjoyed the offerings of the humans, while the humans enjoyed the protection of the dragons.
All of the powerful magical creatures in the wild and the ambitious nobles ruling over their own land considered the dragons of Dragon Valley to be the true rulers of the knights' plane. Their so-called king was only a pathetic bug kneeling before the dragons!
One Thousand Seven Hundred years ago, the Edward family was a small local noble as well. However, they offered many treasures to the dragons and promised countless more. With the dragons’ blessing, the Edward family rose to prominence. They defeated the other nobles, collapsed the ruling kingdom, and formed the knights' kingdom.
It was the Dragon Covenant that allowed the Edward family to bring about an era of peace and prosperity lasting 1,700 years. However the massive annual tributes they paid to the dragons had also, at some point, caused the kingdom to fall into a crippled state, unable to maintain their absolute control over the plane.
With a calamity now in their faces, not even the kingdom's perpetual loyalty and obedience could stop Dragon Valley from breaking the kingdom's spine and squeezing out the last bit of wealth and treasure from it.
It seemed he was still one step too late!
Those shameless dragons had completely robbed this city of everything it had.
That said, Greem wasn't here for worldly wealth or money. He was here for a mission assigned by Lord Sarubo. Of course, it was also for that energy-merging knowledge he craved for.
He could only hope his targets were still alive now that the entire capital Skandre had been reduced to rubble.
Walking on the only stone path into the city, Greem saw people everywhere. Expressionless and exhausted, they pushed carts and herded their livestock, surging out of the city with their families. Mothers cried with their children in their bosoms, elderly men leaned against the remains of their homes without any expressions on their faces. Adults with vengeance, hate, and anger painted on their faces… their expressions were never the same, but they were all equally dishevelled and on the brink of tears.
Greem had seen too many such expressions on his way here!
This was the great capital famous throughout the kingdom. It had enormous wealth that was without end. As a result, it drew a lot of attention from the dragons as well.
Everyday for the past five days, flights of dragons arrived from the distant horizon, raided the city, then left with their backs and claws full of their spoils.
The merchants and the rich of the city had all escaped this city cursed by the dragons in order to avoid their raiding and robbing. The only ones left here were poor civilians with nowhere else to go.
However, as the dragons' rampage continued, the city also gradually became increasingly empty. Even those civilians with nothing to their name had no choice but to painfully leave this familiar piece of land they had grown up on and move to somewhere new.
Greem entered Skandre City by wading through such a chaotic crowd.
Greem had tried his best and found a gray and old travelling cloak. Still, with every step he took, the edge of the cloth would lift up, revealing the delicate robe underneath with its shining magic runes. Some bad-intentioned crooks might not understand these patterns, but it didn't stop them from understanding its value.
A group of unfortunate fellows with dishevelled clothes and mean appearances quickly appeared behind Greem. Every one of them was holding some sort of weapon, be it a club or a shiv.
Greem passed by a tall tower with only half of its height remaining and turned into a small alley. Light gleamed in the eyes of the crooks. Their opportunity had come. The lot of them quickly strode after Greem.
The fight didn't last long.
If it wasn't out of fear of being discovered by the dragons, he would have only needed a simple fireball to eradicate all of these idiots. But now, Greem could only wield his fists and punch the crooks to the ground with his raw strength.
As the group of rogues were rolling about the ground in pain, Greem grabbed ahold of a scrawny man’s chin and lifted him from the ground.
"Where is the capital's Runeforge Camp? Bring me there now, or else… " Greem's iron grip suddenly turned red hot, burning a black handprint onto the man's face.
"Heretic, you are a heretic… " The stumbling men instantly recognized Greem's identity and fell into a panic.
Greem was only a fire elementium adept. He didn't possess much in the way of knowledge about the soul, otherwise he wouldn't need to use threats on these people to have them show him the way. Sadly, even after thoroughly interrogating every one of them, he still did not managed to get any information on that Runeforge Camp.
Just as Greem frowned and contemplated how to clean up these crooks, the crisp sound of a child rang out from the rubble beside him.
"These people couldn't possibly know where Runeforge Camp is located!"
Greem was slightly shocked. He released his Spirit and quickly locked onto this newcomer.
He was a teenager, skinny to his very bones. He looked to be twelve or eleven, his hunched body hiding behind a crumbled wall. His aura was immensely weak. Without externally releasing his Spirit, Greem hadn't managed to sense him closing in.
"You know Runeforge Camp?" Greem turned his head and looked at this fellow that showed up of nowhere, "You are a caster as well?"
Greem very vaguely saw a trace of elementium aura about the child.
"Follow me if you want to find out where Runeforge Camp is!" The skinny teenager's face was a pale yellow color, not unlike a malnutritioned stray on the street. Still, using his elementium sight, Greem saw the massive life energies hidden in his body.
Having finished speaking, the youth wove several hand-signs and a light green rune appeared between his palms. Immediately after that, similar runes flashed above the heads of the crooks present.
In a matter of a few breaths, the youth dispelled the runes and turned to leave. Meanwhile, the crooks had already fallen asleep one after another. It seemed they had suddenly forgot everything.
A very crude way of weaving signs, much like the certain means of a branch of curse adepts.
More importantly, the spell that was completed using these hand-signs radiated extremely insignificant elementium flux. Even though Greem was only ten meters away from him, he had to rely on the chip's powerful scanning powers to catch the elementium flux frequency.
It seemed that the casters of this plane were still able to stubbornly survive, despite heavy suppression by the witcher-knights. They had even developed some interesting tricks in doing so.
Greem patted the dust of his hands and quickly followed after the youth.
A loud dragon's roar suddenly reverberated across the skies of the capital. The people remaining in the city immediately ran around looking for hiding spots. Almost instantly, not a single silhouette remained on the streets or alleys.
Countless eyes, filled with anger, looked out from hidden spots in the city, closely staring at the three lithe figures quickly circling about the sky.
The youth also hid in a crumbling house, looking at the dragons' movement through a crack in the roof. The three green dragons circled several times before lunging towards a palace at the waist of the mountain. Soon the screams and cries of women and the angry roars of men could be heard from the distance.
Zeng zeng zeng…
A dozen crossbow bolts clashed against the leading dragon's scales, sending sparks flying everywhere, but none of them did any visible damage to it.
These three dragons were clearly teenage dragons that had just come of age. Their hunting experience was greatly lacking when compared to the veteran green dragons from several days ago. The three dragons roared angrily at the retaliation from the pathetic bugs before them and let out large clouds of poison mist in return.
The world quickly fell silent once more!
The three dragons leaped into the halls and immediately started their savage raid, wreaking havoc on the building as they did so.
The scrawny youth looked on quietly as this hideous occurrence continued. He knew he should feel satisfaction and joy at the price the nobles were paying. However, for some reason, his heart was filled with an indescribable anguish, rage, and a trace of sorrow when he saw this happening.
He turned his head and saw no pity or sympathy on Greem's handsome face. Finally, he couldn't help but speak
"Will you also enslave us in the future, like the dragons are doing?"
Editor Ryu: Greem, "Will we enslave you? No no no...well yes, but mostly we'll just part you out like an automobile chop shop. Acteon has bugs to feed, Mary's gotta restock her flock of bat-people, etc. We had one kid caster we saved here awhile back; don't remember his name. I don't think they altered his body...too much. Whatever- I'm sure whatever grotesque alterations they made to his body were for the better."