Amid heavy snowfall, so harsh one would feel their skin peeling off, a warm light shorn among a long line of soldiers.
There was a total of twenty columns.
Ten thousand men stood in columns, their faces all turning blue due to the cold, yet none dared speak out.
Infront all of these men was a very fragile, and old individual, dressed in a toga that could only be described as unfit for the weather, he seemed almost senile, his mouth was widely opened, letting out some drool, though it soon became solidified in the cold weather.
At some point, a general rode up to the old individual. Respectfully kissing (apparently a Greek greeting?) the old individual on the cheek, the general then said, “Father, we will soon reach our target, but our food stockpile is running low, and the soldiers are in bad conditions. I suggest we set up camp for the day and ration out the food.”
A tall figure leading one of the columns yelled through the snow, his voice shaking the mountain tops, “You fool! If we ration out food now, the soldier’s morale will be reduced to nothing!”
To this banter, the old individual seemed ignorant, his eyes remaining unfocused, clouded by his thoughts, or perhaps he was becoming truly becoming senile.
The general eventually said, “Father’s one-hundredth birthday is coming up tomorrow, do you, as the second son of the emperor, wish to see his dreams shatter along with the army?”
The man leading the column ceased talking, thrusting the shield within his lesser hand into the snow, he boldly exclaimed, “It’s not as if I haven’t killed any dragons, if our father wants to see them slaughtered so much, then I alone, will be sufficient.”
The general shook his head and silently rode away from the old individual, arriving in front of the second prince, the general thrust a blade into the second prince’s stomach, before rearranging one of his loyal followers to lead the column.
Many years ago, to do such a thing in front of the emperor be treasonous.
Crossing a frozen river, the army entered a ravine, where the general dismounted, arriving before the old individual, he intended to help his father stand up.
Yet the old individual, using his arm that was nothing more than skin and bones, slowly lifted himself up inch by inch, before strolling into the ravine, his face still as dull and lifeless.
The general seized the old individual’s army, yet a sudden shock overcame his entire body, causing him to collapse onto the chair the emperor had been sitting on.
The chair smells like iron, despite its wooden frame.
As he stepped into the ravine, two bright orbs acknowledge him.
The emperor’s steps were very light, yet every step made a heavy sound, and each sound, caused another pair of eyes to spring forward.
The ravine will incredibly long, it’s furthest distance being eighty miles, yet the emperor strolled that distance in less than five minutes.
At the end of the ravine, a pair of red eyes, shining brighter than the sun greeted him.
Huffing out a stream of cold air, the massive pupils dilated, before disappearing.
A female figure than emerged from where the host of the pupils had been, walking toward the old emperor, she seemed almost a bit fearful.
The old emperor smiled widely, revealing that all his teeth had been lost over his lifetime.
Stretching out his scrawny hands, the emperor frowned, upon realising that his body has shrunk even more so than before.
The figure quickly advanced a few steps toward the emperor, touching her delicate face against his hands that was no more than skin and bones.
The emperor smiled once more, the deep wrinkles on his face appearing as if a blooming chrysanthemum.
The emperor laughed silently, before his voice that was no different than the winds blowing through the ravine said, “I have conquered the Vitlu peninsula at 25 years of age, the southern Lubian lands when I was 34, and at last, the eastern Palmyra kingdom and western wasteland of continent were subdued after celebrating my 48th birthday.”
“I had decided that half my life was spent on conquering enough territory to rival your kind, and the other half was spent planning for this expedition. After I capture you, you shall be paraded around Alexandria, showing the world my power and prestige,” the emperor’s words were spoken at a very slow pace, explaining every detail.
“Or, at least that is what I planned eighty years ago.”
The female figure smashed her fist against the walls of the ravine, causing a massive boulder composed of countless gemstones to fall next to the emperor.
The female then said, “Us dragons have done you no wrong, the last raid against the human lands was more than two hundred years ago, you should hold no animosity against us.”
The emperor laughed, choking on his own spit as he replied, “Of course there is no animosity between you and me, I am merely doing this to mimic the heroes of old.”
A few scales could be seen encroaching the female’s body as she said, “You’re mad!”
The emperor wiped the drool off his face using the toga before saying, “Of course I am, unless a person is mad, how can they achieve greatness, you, Julia, as the oldest of dragons, should know this the same as the back of your hand.”
After these words were spoken, an explosion could be heard echoing through the ravine, causing the walls of the ravine to collapse, and both the emperor’s soldiers and the dragons alike became buried under the falling rocks.
Julia’s body shuddered, the scales encroaching further, covering the whole of her body.
Suddenly, her body was seized by the old emperor, who laughed so joyfully, that tears came out of his eyes.
Julia, realising that within the emperor’s seemingly frail arms, much of his strength still remained, perhaps even greater than his younger days, said, “Those are your own troops as well, you’re not just mad, Alexander, you’re insane!”
The emperor, wiping his tears of joy, said, “I know that I will not pass my 100th birthday, for these 200,000 men to be buried with their emperor, is their greatest honour.”
Julia stared at the emperor, before hatefully saying, “You humans treat us dragons as monsters, yet you’re far more dangerous me any one of my kind.”
The emperor did not reply, his dull eyes appearing now to be burning even brighter than Julia’s.
Time passed, and unknowingly, Alexander had turned one hundred.
Suddenly, a massive whirlpool gathered atop the ravine, it’s harshness stripping Alexander of the toga he was wearing, revealing a body that was no different than that of the dead, causing even Julia, to become fearful of its appearance.
(If you can’t tell, he is basically Romulus)
Alexander looked the clouds above his head, laughing heartily, he said, “After one hundred years, it seems the gods haven’t abandoned me after all.”
Staring at the clouds that overshadowed the continent, Julia’s voice trembled as she said, “I’m… afraid to die.”
Alexander replied, sounding slightly angry, “Dying is a natural part of life, at some point, the stars, the sun and the moon above us will also die.”
Julia wished to inject, but noticing the crazed look on Alexander’s face, and silently cursed him instead.
Alexander seemed to notice her emotions, waving his hand, he summoned a large jar, full of elegant carving detailing many mythological beings, reaching his somewhat trembling hands within the jar, he retrieved a wide variety of dried foods.
Joyfully stuffing the dried fruits within his mouth before offhandedly passed a handful of dried dates into the hands of Julia. After swallowing the dried fruits and tasting its sweetness, his emotions finally turned serene.
Julia, looking at the dried dates in her hands, humph, before throwing the dates on the ground.
By now, Alexander’s attention was completely focused on the gathering whirlpool, stretching his hands toward the sky, he seemed to regain the valour he had possessed many years ago.
The whirlpool of clouds suddenly ceased their movement, before streams of lightning cracked through the sky, lighting up the whole of the ravine.
This scene appeared in truth quite beautiful, the pure white snow in the ravine occasionally stained by the blood of dragons and humans appearing like flowers, yet the sound of thunder rippling through the night sky was too overpowering, and both Alexander and Julia was too old to appreciate such a scene.
Before long the clouds swirled together, forming a massive lion.
The lion was so large, that its figure, had blocked off the moon, and it’s front paws that touched the ground, flattened entire mountains.
The lion briefly glanced over Julia, his head that was larger than the ravine giving off a roar of approval before it’s eye’s that were larger than lakes focused on Alexander.
Yet in this brief moment, Julia became very uneasy, as at the moment the lion glanced over her, its eyes were focused on her weakest points, which not even her closest kin would be aware of.
The lion did not speak for a long time, his figure remaining still as the sun reappeared in the sky.
Alexander’s toga seemed to be drenched in sweat, yet his expression was still one of joy, no different to that of a child receiving candy.
Julia was still held by Alexander, appearing helpless, and her eyes full of hate.
When the sun had reached the same position as the moon had occupied, the lion finally spoke, “You are honestly a fool.”
As the lion said these words, a drop of his spit fell onto the ravine, transferring the entire structure into a deep lake, it’s grandness appearing so deep, and so blue.
The lion licked its paw as he said with a hint of mockery, “That is good, only a stubborn head idiot like you can become a god.”
Alexander forcibly suppressed his joy, and replied, “Of course, who else would have thought to reject longevity and age as I had.”
In his joy, Alexander released Julia.
Julia attempted to flee, yet her body suddenly froze upon the lion's snicker, which had shown his intent.
The lion then said, “You dragons are truly slothful, you can clearly ascend to godhood, but you still prefer to stay in this worthless piece of land.”
Julia wanted to respond, “A stupid animal like a lion won’t understand the thinking of a dragon!”
But the lion already knew her thought and yawned once again, reaffirming to Julia that lions were indeed too brutish.
Nevertheless, Alexander conjured up a second toga, by the time when it was worn on his body, Alexander appeared visibly younger, perhaps how he would look at forty, his hair slightly grey, but overall, give off the air of a supreme leader.
When one ascend into godhood, their appearance would no longer change, thus, Alexander had chosen this appearance.
Peculiarly, Julia felt a sudden craving for sweets, causing her to reach toward the floor to retrieve the few dried pears she had thrown in her anger.
When she looked up again, Alexander had disappeared along with the lion, while she herself was submerged in the river created by the lions’ spit.
Feeling repulsed, Julia lit the dried pear she was holding a flame, despite the fact that she was underwater, her flames burned white.
Yet the liquid surrounding her did not boil.
There was a river in the north of the Julian Empire that flowed like silver and was remarkably clean, that the stars, would be mapped out. At the same time, it was unusually deep, and thus, the bottom of the river could not be seen by man.
Since one could not drink from this river, as it’s weight was far too heavy, there were no human settlements, though a trail of smoke could be seen coming from a flame next to an insignificant carriage lead by two horses.
Ovid passed a skewer to Anna, before passing one to Cai Hua.
He did not eat it since it was quite harmful with a great amount of butter Anna had demanded to be smeared atop the food, instead, his gaze was focused on the river beside him, it’s waves occasionally brushing onto the fridges of the river, before swiftly retreating.