Chapter 547 Negotiation Breakdown
Greem was eighty percent certain that the tall figure in the crystal image Billis sent back was Third Grade Thunder Dragon Arms, who had gone missing after the massive explosion.
It seemed he had turned into a human form once more to ease his escape from underground. Moreover, Greem could vaguely make out something else through the faint image. Arms seemed to be bringing with him his field rations.
The skinny figure obscured by Arm's body was a familiar sight to Greem. They seemed to be someone Greem knew. However, according to Greem's memory, that person shouldn't be as skinny as he currently was.
Still, Greem had already started understanding something when he saw that person's limbs. The white bones beneath them had already been exposed.
It had been over twenty days since the explosion. Even a Third Grade thunder dragon would have an impossible time surviving underground where there was no food or water. Not to mention the fact that the Thunder Dragon had been in such close proximity to the space furnace when the explosion had happened. Escaping unharmed was no more than fantasy.
If it weren't for his Dragonblood Barrier protecting him from the terrifying space storm, Third Grade Thunder Dragon Arms would already be dead. He might have survived until this moment, but he was covered in wounds and completely drained of all energy.
That was why Arms had no choice but to drag along his Second Grade dragonborn subordinate Zacha, who had, fortunately, survived the explosion as well. After all, he was buried a thousand meters underground beneath endless tons of dirt and stone. Arms had only managed to sustain himself up to this moment with Zacha's blood and flesh.
Still, while the blood and flesh gave him some stamina and life force with which to continue digging upwards, it couldn't help him recover from his grievous wounds. The injuries should have been no problem for Arms. As long as there were sufficient magical energies, the dragons would be able to recover from any physical damage with their exceptional Physique.
Sadly, the Goblin Plane was indeed a small-sized plane that lacked resources and magical energies. The immensely thin concentration of magic in the plane was so unbearable that it had almost caused Arms to break out in tears. It had been over twenty days, yet his magic energy hadn't recovered. In fact, his supply of magic energy was even steadily falling due to the hard work and bland diet he was on.
The loss of his lightning powers caused Thunder Dragon Arm's wounds to worsen each the day. His body was in such frail condition that it was almost about to fall apart.
Even so, Thunder Dragon Arms did not give up hope for survival. He dragged his 'food supply' along as he slowly shuffled towards the surface. All living beings in his path could not escape his claws. Lizards, ants, snakes and all sorts of creatures were turned into the nutrition he needed to continue going.
Unfortunately, that was why the thunder dragon had devoured Bug Adept Billis' sting scorpion.
The dragon was only six hundred and twelve meters away from the surface. That meant that he had forcefully dug his way up a distance of four hundred meters with his steel-like claws, despite the harsh environment he was in.
This distance might not sound like a lot, but it was referring to a vertical distance down into the earth!
Plenty of metal tunnels and collapsed structures stacked upon each other down there at a depth of one thousand meters. Trying to dig a way out through these mountains of metal was unbelievably difficult. Even the ordinarily loose dirt would turn as hard as steel when packed so densely under the weight of hundreds of millions of tons of debris.
In all honesty, Arms being able to make it this far had already far exceeded Greem's expectations.
Greem had expected these annoying enemies to survive with the help of some unique geography underground and that they would be waiting for death while trapped in there. He had never thought any creature would be strong enough to dig their way out with pure, brute force.
If Greem hadn't stumbled upon this discovery, Arms might have been able to escape after seven or eight more days. Of course, that was assuming that the wounds on his body didn't worsen.
However, Thunder Dragon Arms' plan to escape was fated to fail now that Greem had found out about it!
Greem had no choice but send Mary to track down Leicester while he personally hurried back to the Goblin Plane with Poison Witch Endor.
In the two days' time he took to get to the goblin camp, Arms had managed to dig another one hundred and seventy meters upwards.
Perhaps because he sensed the intense tremors from above, Arms stopped digging upwards after a short time. Instead, he started to dig in a horizontal direction, as if he intended to avoid the unknown forces waiting above.
Bug Adept Billis grew a lot more cautious after losing one of his sting scorpions. He sent two sting scorpions to follow behind the thunder dragon, quickly traveling through the earth by following the tunnels that the dragon had dug. The other ten scorpions were scattered around the thunder dragon, remotely judging his position based on the commotion from his digging. They didn't dare to get too close this time.
These sting scorpions would never have been able to escape Arms' spiritual senses if he had been in his usual condition. It wouldn't matter how much dirt and debris stood between them; thirty or forty meters of distance was nothing for Arms' powerful Spirit.
However, the thunder dragon was now barely limping by with his wounded body. His Spirit was almost completely exhausted. As such, he had failed to notice the fact that the enemy was monitoring him.
Until a sinister silhouette piped up beside him.
"O' respected Lord Dragon, Greem pays his respects!"
The sudden appearance of a voice in the dark tunnel shocked the Thunder Dragon. He stopped digging and turned back to look. His amber reptilian eyes immediately locked on to a small silhouette standing in the distant darkness.
An earth elemental!
It was a low-grade earth elemental that was only as powerful as an apprentice adept!
The body made of rough clay wasn't sturdy at all, but a pair of intimidating red eyes glowed in its round head as it stared at the dragon.
Dammit! Those adepts still got to me in the end!
Even though Arms actually wanted reinforcements, he knew the situation he was in and was ultimately hoping he would run into goblins. Those short and weak goblins could never be his match, regardless of their numbers and magical machines.
However, the brief appearance of the adepts before the showdown made Arms anxious!
He wouldn't have needed to worry about these low-grade adepts if he had all of his combat power. It would have been a simple matter of devouring the adepts if he ran into them. He didn't need to think about the non-existent threat they posed to him. But now…
A grave expression appeared on Arms' face as he lowered his head to look at his tattered body, covered with wounds, oozing with pus, and with scales falling off here and there. He steadily walked up to the earth elemental.
"That explosion was your doing?" Arms asked, but the expression on his face made it clear that he already had his answer.
"My deepest apologies, Lord Dragon. The original intent of detonating the space furnace wasn't to inflict any harm upon you. We only wanted to blast that damned brain to pieces. We never even expected your appearance in our original plan." A scarlet light flashed in the eyes of the earth elemental. A strange mental consciousness flux could be sensed within the elemental.
Arms couldn't help but betray a dejected expression.
He too had never planned to enter this lowly and inferior Goblin Plane personally. If it hadn't been for his infuriation by the delay in the charging of the planar door, he would never have relied on his powerful Physique to force his way through the spatial vortex and come to this accursed place.
It was too late to say anything!
Arms would never have been able to imagine himself running into such a terrifying space storm inside a lowly, small-sized plane. A space furnace explosion of this intensity was equivalent to throwing him into the energy storms in space.
The fact that Arms had been able to survive in that massive explosion was already a testament to the power of his dragon bloodline and the strength of his Physique.
Power, luck, and experience; Arms would have been blasted into pieces in the explosion if he had lacked any one of these factors.
"Adept, I am Third Grade Dragon Lord Arms of the Plane of Rance. If you save me from this place and let me leave safely, I swear by the name of the Dragon God to recompensate your compassion with five… no, ten times my wealth." The typically arrogant and wild Thunder Dragon Arms suddenly behaved in an extremely friendly fashion.
"Oh? You mean… you will repay me with wealth ten times that of the value of a Third Grade Dragon?" The earth elemental was still speaking with its unique booming voice.
Arms face had already turned ashen from the continuous loss of blood. However, it still managed to become even paler upon hearing the opponent's words.
The value of a Third Grade Dragon, and ten times that?!
Would he be able to gather such a terrifying sum of payment even if he skinned his own body, took apart his bones, drained his blood, and collected all his flesh?
His words earlier were only meant to be recompensation for the opponent's 'kind' gesture of saving him. Yet, they seem to be implicitly categorizing him as their property with what they had just said.
It seemed that things were unlikely to be resolved through negotiations, given the vast differences between their perspectives.
Rage filled Arms' heart. He lashed out with his now dirtied and muddied right hand at lightning speed and plunged it deep into the chest of the earth elemental. He then crushed the elementium core within the golem.
Thunder Dragons were variants of the wind element. They were incompatible with earth elementium. As such, Arms didn't choose to devour the creature and instead destroyed it immediately.
This one-meter tall elemental quickly collapsed with the destruction of its elementium core. It returned to dust.
However, this seemed to have sounded the horns of battle. Arms immediately sensed over a hundred elementium fluctuations unique to earth elementals in the soil around him.
Several adept-level earth elementals started to appear in the tunnel he had dug through the ground. They immediately lunged at Arms with rumbling footsteps after they had formed.
Arms was unfazed by such small fry.
He shook his dirt-covered right hand, miraculously turning it into a well-defined dragon claw. He then made grabbing motions in the air, smashing through the chest of an earth elemental with every thrust and retrieving the elementium core within.
Those earth elementals had their cores shattered before they could even get close to Arms. Their bodies disintegrated and fell apart.
Arms suddenly turned back and let out an angered roar, despite how well the battle was going for him.
The skinny body that had been lying in the corner of the tunnel had mysteriously sunk into the earth and vanished before his eyes.
His 'rations'-Dragonborn Zachhad been abducted by the adepts!