Chapter 245 The Conflict Escalates
Nighttime. The knights' kingdom was in turmoil.
The actual battle reports had come in from the frontlines. More than half of the six thousand witcher-knights had died in Greenland Forest, while the survivors had been scattered in the wild and were unlikely to regroup anytime soon.
The cause for the delay in information was due to that accursed Count Vanlier taking up arms and rebelling. He had publicly surrendered to those evil invading adepts.
Only five radiant knights remained out of the leaders that went to battle. They led a hundred of their subordinates back to Herdurand City, and that was how news of the battle got back.
The sudden betrayal of the dragons!
The departure of Fourth Grade Holy Knight Sir Willis with the dragons!
One of the three dragon knights had died in battle, while the other two had been caught in the adepts' base.
The terrifying adepts' tower remained standing in the depths of Greenland Forest, now impenetrable and unassailable!
Bad news repeatedly came. Finally, the elderly king was unable to go on and started coughing blood.
Just as he got news of the dragons' betrayal and the dire straits of his kingdom, news reached his ears about an attack on Runeforge Camp, the most important location for the knights. This increasingly angered all of the witcher-knights!
The many radiant knights that stayed at and guarded the palace led their indignant subordinates out on the hunt, recklessly searching for suspicious individuals within Skandre City.
Just like that, Skandre City instantly turned into a terrifying storm vortex, viciously dragging everyone involved into itself and tearing them to pieces!
A night of unrest.
When dawn broke, Skandre City finally regained a little of its peace.
Yet, at this moment, the prisons of the capital had already been filled to the brim with crying and pleading prisoners.
Before the shaken population could even calm down, a wave of violent dragon roars rumbled across the distance.
A massive flight of dragons had come!
Having experienced seventeen days of dragon raids, everyone in the capital had long gotten used to this terrifying sound.
But today was obviously different.
Not only were the dragons much earlier than usual, they were all circling above the palace. It seemed they did not come with good intentions!
For a time, the skies above the palace were entirely covered by the wicked and intimidating bodies of the green dragons.
Twenty-three adolescent green dragons. Five Third Grade green dragons, seven Second Grade green dragons, and eleven First Grade green dragons were here.
They circled in the sky as the lead dragon let out a vicious roar. The weathered stone surfaces of the nearby mountains started to crumble and fall during the thundering roar, rolling down towards the bottom of the mountain in a landslide.
Having let out the anger and dissatisfaction in his heart, the green dragon beat his wings and hovered above the palace while letting out yet another massive roar.
"Edward VII, get your filthy ass out here. Hand over the dragon-slaying murderer, or we will raze your palace!"
"Get out here… "
"Hand over the murderer… "
The dragons roared, one after another. The deafening sound caused even the palace itself to tremor.
Countless palace guards hid within the watchtowers and above the palace walls. They held bows and crossbows in their hands and prepared for a fight at any moment, yet no one dared to start an attack.
For the longest time, the magnificent and mighty dragons were the patrons of their hearts. They were their most powerful companions that they lived in harmony with. Every single human couldn't help but have mixed feelings about the situation now that they had become enemies.
Their capital had been utterly ravaged, their cities attacked, and the people angered. Yet, after such a long time under the dragon's protection, everyone still hoped, deep in their hearts, that the dragons would come to their senses and reestablish their friendship with the kingdom!
It was such a mentality that caused the citizens of the capital to have mixed feelings towards the dragons. There were those who hated them, and those that wished for friendship, while even more were in a state of uncertainty…
Confusion and uncertainty towards the dragons; towards humanity and the future!
Eight radiant knights anxiously gathered before the king's bed, placed in a luxuriously grand hall. They helplessly watched on as a group of doctors tried their very best to save the king, whose face was flushed an unhealthy red. However, their king was clearly at the brink of his death. It was clear that he wasn't going to regain consciousness.
"What do we do? The dragons are knocking at the gates. How are we supposed to negotiate with the dragons without the king?"
"Indeed. The dragons do not come with friendly thoughts. A bloody battle is imminent! But the king… "
The radiant knights frowned deeply as they discussed. None of them had any idea what to do in the current situation.
In the end, the most veteran radiant knight amongst them took off his helmet, revealing his pale white hair and weathered face as he spoke, "This is a time of difficulty for the kingdom. As knights of the Edward family we cannot abandon the throne in such trying times."
Several radiant knights straightened their faces and replied in unison, "We will defend the kingdom with our lives!"
"I'll give out orders now. August, Andeni, the two of you stay here. Make sure that the king remains unharmed!"
"Sarah, Claire. Find the princes immediately and evacuate the palace. Return immediately if we are able to make it through today. If… if war breaks out, don't care about what happens back here. Take them east. The further the better!"
The two were both female knights. Their expressions were saddened when they heard this, but they forced their tears back down and nodded in acknowledgement.
"The rest follow me to see what the dragons want."
"We will stand with you!"
Amidst some vague sobbings, the four radiant knights sorted out their equipment and marched out of the palace with tragic and passionate valiance.
Yet, just as everyone was distracted by the tense standoff in front of the palace, a fully armed radiant knight was hurrying towards the back with two spellbreaker knights following closely behind. It was a time of turmoil and chaos. Large numbers of witcher-knights were stationed in various locations in the palace and even the palace guards were in a panic.
At this time, the powerful radiant knights were like the foundation of the entire kingdom's backbone. Which ignorant guard would dare to stop and search a radiant knight at such a moment?
Thus, Greem successfully made his way near the hall with Cobalt and Flower following closely behind and managed to hide in a room right next to the large hall.
At the front of the palace, the elderly radiant knight that strode out had attracted the attention of the dragon flight.
The dragon at the lead with the massive body folded its wings when it saw the four radiant knights walking out. It landed on the large platform.
"Human, call your king out. Today, he must hand over the Gem of the Contract, as well as the dragon-murderer. Otherwise, we will raze this place to the ground." The green dragon roared.
"O respected dragon ambassador, what is it that angers you so? We of the knights' kingdom have always been the loyal companions to the great dragons for the past thousand years. Yet now, it is you that are viciously attacking the capital and assaulting our cities. And today you even come here to demand some Gem of Contract and murderer from us! Is this something companions and allies do to each other?"
"Puny human, don't try and show off your speaking skills. The great Wrathion will not sit here and listen to your useless words. Have your king come out or I'll force my way in!" The dragon in the lead was violent and aggressive. It was clear that he had no intention of letting this end peacefully.
Greem, who was peeking from a side hall in the distance, let out a breath of relief.
Fortunately for him, the leading Third Grade dragon had an excessively overbearing personality. Otherwise, if both parties had any sign of peaceful negotiation, he would probably have to take the risk and incite a conflict. He only needed to run to a group of 'ignorant' witcher-knights and order them to attack the dragons to start a complete bloodbath.
Luckily, the dragons were far more reckless than he thought. Such a forceful method of negotiation. It would be weird if the knights didn't react negatively!
As expected, just as the elderly radiant knight drew his shining runic longsword to halt the march of the lead dragon, chaos broke out! No one knew whether it was started by a runic arrow shot by a panicking witcher-knight, or the dragon breath of a young green dragon, but a terrifying battle quickly exploded!
Under the terrified gazes of countless palace guards, numerous acidic poison and wind poison dragon breaths rained down like a storm. All of the human warriors that were caught in them died a painful death before they could even escape.
The warriors that were engulfed in the wind poison fell to the ground, their faces a deathly black. They had been killed instantly by the poison. Those that were showered with acidic poison had their flesh dissolved like melting candles, turning into viscous green liquid and leaving only a pile of charred and withered bones behind.
Bows and crossbows on the ground fired in unison. Waves of fire and ice arrows slashed through the sky, barring the dragon flight.
Clinking noises echoed throughout. Countless arrows were swiped out of the skies by the dragons' wings and tails, but some arrows still found their way into gaps in the scales of the younger dragons.
For a moment, grunts and cries of pain rang out incessantly from the dragon flight.
A few adolescent green dragons quickly dove down and used their massive bodies to shield the young dragons. Under the orders of the adolescent dragons, the dragon flight quickly took to the sky and gradually left the range of the crossbows.
But this didn't mean that the dragons were going to retreat. In fact, it was the precursor to a ferocious attack.
Dragon roars rumbled through the skies. With two adolescent dragons in the front, and three juvenile dragons following closely behind, five massive green dragons beat their wide wings and dove downwards at the palace at high speed.
The five green dragons opened their mouths wide, and large balls of horrifying acid quickly gathered behind their throats.
The next moment, five dense acidic poison breaths had ploughed several paths of death through the crowd below. The crossbows attacks from the ground were mostly deflected by the dragons' scales. Even the occasional bolts that found their mark into flesh wasn't enough to interrupt the dragons' wild breaths.
The first group of dragons had just finished unleashing their ravaging breaths. Just as they turned their bodies and took to the skies once more, a second group of dragons had already started their high-speed dive. Behind them, a third group of dragons was already in formation, looking for the best diving angle…