Saphia was in a state of desperate panic as she woke up in an unknown environment. The last thing she remembered before her memory became fuzzy was that she had sneaked out from a side hatch of the ship and followed behind the raiding force at a distance.
The next thing she knew was seeing dazzling orbs darting towards the raiding force and bright bursts of light that left white spots in her eyes. She saw flames and smoke as the force led by Lord Jesper came under attack from an invisible attacker.
She saw one of the skimmers closest to her was suddenly covered in a burst of flames and the whole boat wobbled wildly in the air as the pilot and the controls disappeared. She heard screaming coming from the survivors and she steeled herself and dove down as fast as she could and using her hind claws, she grasped a corner of the out of control skimmer.
"Hurry! Get on me!" She yelled at the survivors who quickly scrambled on to her back. Just as the last survivor hanging on to her sides, the skimmer suddenly gave a violent shake before a thick cloud of black smoke that darker than the night erupted out from its side and the next thing Saphia knew, she was flying in the air with her ears ringing.
She felt the coldness of the sea and her consciousness slowly faded away. When she regained her consciousness, she had found herself chained up against the cold hard stone floor. No matter how she struggles or how she tried to use her magic, nothing seemed to work. Her consciousness slowly faded away again as her wounds and tiredness caught up with her.
The next time she woken up, she found herself surrounded by people wearing strange clothing. She tried to communicate with those people, but none could understand her. Despite being chained up, her wounds and needs were properly taken care of and despite the food being foreign, it at least palatable and helped keep her strength up.
There were a couple of people that made her felt a sense of danger from the way they eyed her like she was some sort of object. Their scrutinizing and hungry looks made her felt naked and she growled to warn them, but they appeared to not take notice of her words. In fact, one of them even smiled back to her and the smile made her felt a chill down her spine.
The next days were a blur, as she locked up inside a dungeon of sorts. She did not know how much time has passed until one day she was dragged out of her prison and loaded onto a carriage which was pulled by some kind of wingless lesser dragons.
For the first time since her capture, she finally saw the lands of the New World. On her unknown journey, she saw many villages and towns which looked similar yet foreign to her lands. Children dressed in rough homespun laughed and ran along with her prison cell while adults filled the streets gossiping and staring at her.
In her lands, no one dared to point nor stare at her with such rudeness. The people of her lands would kneel down and kowtow at her and the Dragon Lords' passing. But here, the people were showing such disregard for her status, which after all, it was not to be unexpected as she was now a prisoner.
Finally, as all journey has a start, it has an end. The convoy of archaic armour wearing soldiers escort her reached a large walled city. There, Saphia saw a walled city, built in an ancient style architecture that was no longer seen in the Old World. Hundreds of spires bearing fluttering yellow and orange banners covered the city roofs while a large green moat surrounded the city.
The convoy joined the queue of merchant wagons and her captors to prevent prying eyes, covered her cage with a cloth which helped provided some form of shade as they waiting for the long queue to slowly inch its way through the gates of the city.
Once inside the city, Saphia found herself brought into another underground cell where her chains were hammered into the walls and once again she was left in the cold and dark. Her conditions changed to the better as a small army of servants appeared and started bushing and polishing her scales. Her nails were even filed and clipped neatly and her horns polished until they gleamed under the mage lights.
Such treatment actually made Saphia afraid as she felt that they were making her presentable for something, but what it was, she did not know and did not think it would turn out well for her. She tried to break her bonds and use her magic, but the chains were too strong for her to break and something was suppressing her ability to use magic.
Soon after, the time which she was dreading of came as a large group of servants came in. They started hoisting her chains and dragging her cell out. For a moment, Saphia was blinded by a bright glow of lights and when her eyesight recovered, she found herself being displayed on a huge stage.
A small person dressed colourfully stood at the side and was speaking into the air. His words made no sense to Saphia and she made a desperate bid to escape as she knew that this was her last chance for freedom.
A hush came over the crowd as the grinding of metal wheels came to a halt. The stage was brightly illuminated by glow lamps and spells, which further highlighted the beauty of the chained creature that was being displayed.
A dragon with ebony scales that glittered like black gold was sprawled out on the stage. It's body was unlike the thick and muscular built of the commonly seen dragons and were instead sleek and aerodynamically proportioned. It was slighter smaller than a medium weight Razorback and instead of having razor like ridges along its spine, its spine was smooth all the way to the tip of its tail.
Two horns that gleamed under the lights jutted out from its brows giving the dragon a noble bearing. It tilted its head high up and thrashed against its restraints as if showing off its strong will and unbroken pride. It's midnight black wings stretched out and blocked out the lights, giving it a frigid aura of the shadows.
Blue Thunder gasped as he tried to squeeze one of his eyes as close to the tablet's screen as possible as he looked at the scene through the camera mounted on Dek's shoulder. He was stunned by the beauty of the black dragon and if he was to compare Rastraz with the black dragon, it was Rastraz was like a pure ruby while this dragon was like pure obsidian!
"Oh, my heavens!"
"Lords and Ladies!" The MC had purposely kept silent for several heartbeats so as to let the hype build up. "Now, as you all can see... This is a being of uttermost beauty and rarity! No one has ever laid eyes on such a creature!"
"Starting bid for the black dragon starts at one hundred thousand gold crowns!" The MC declared. "Each bid goes for one thousand!"
"A HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND!"
"ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND!"
"ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND!"
The auction hall suddenly became rowdy as the crowd started throwing bids out. In a matter of seconds, the bid for the black dragon hit over half a million gold crowns! Such an amount was enough to purchase at least three heavyweight dragons, yet the bids continued on!
Finally, the bidding slowed down and was contested by only three parties as the bid went beyond the financial capabilities of the rest. "Six hundred thousand!"
The handsome young elf seated at the VIP row raised his hand and raised the bid, "Seven hundred thousand."
The auction crowd gasped as they heard the bid made by the young elf. Many did not know who and where did such a young person come from and what background does he have either. The other two parties who wanted to contest the bid gave up as the price went over their expectations.
"Seven hundred thousand once!" The MC was grinning widely at the audience as he called out. "Seven hundred thousand twice..."
"Seven hundred fifty thousand!" A clear voice called out suddenly much to the surprise of the entire auction. Even the MC was surprised but it only lasted a mere second before he gleefully started yelled out.
"Seven hundred and fifty thousand!" He yelled excitedly and he cast a meaningful glance towards the direction of the handsome young elf at the VIP stands. "Is there a higher bid than seven hundred fifty thousand?"
"Eight hundred thousand!" The handsome young elf snapped as he glared at the person who dared challenge his bid.
"One million!" The clear voice spoke again and a sharp intake of breath could be heard from the whole hall.
"O- One million!" The MC gasped excitedly. "We have a bid of one million here!"
The young elf gave a displeased hiss as he dropped out of the bidding. The MC yelled, "One million... once!"
"One million... twice!"
"One million... SOLD!"
Trism leaned back with a small smile on his face as Lady Mona took the offered contract served on a silver platter by a steward. When the servants left the room, Lady Mona let out a sigh as she played with the contract. "One million for that dragon... Is it worth it?"
"Oh, yes, of course!" Trism laughed as he gently plucked the contract from Lady Mona's hands. "This is worth it!"
"Enough so to make some... enemies?" Lady Mona raised an eyebrow towards the VIP stands.
"Well, he is just the third prince..." Trism said dismissively as he unrolled the contract and quickly read through it. "And from a concubine, no less."
"A very favoured concubine..." Lady Mona added as she took a sip of wine. "The King does dote on the third prince a lot..."
"Well, then, I better make some preparations!" Trism laughed as he leaned forward and kissed Lady Mona deeply. "And I just know who to ask for help!"
"Wow," Dek whistled as they watched the auction come to an end. "One million gold crowns! We can buy a lordship with that amount of money!"
"I got a bad feeling from this..." Stamford had a frown on his face as he watched the dragon being transported away.
Just as he finished speaking, a servant knocked on the door and bowed. "My Lords, your presence is requested by Lord Trism and Lady Mona..."
"Well... shit..." Stamford let out a sigh. "I knew we should get close with any Intel pukes..."
The group followed the servant out and into another room where Trism and Lady Mona was seated and waiting for them. Trism had a wide smile as he welcomed the Air Force crew to be seated and he came straight to the point. "Well... I am sure you had seen what happened earlier!"
"Congratulations for winning the bid, sir, madam," Stamford said politely. "It... was exciting."
"Ha!" Trism laughed and he tossed the contract scroll to Stamford who fumbled his catch. "Take it!"
"I got a mission for you," Trism gave a wink. "I want you and your team to... escort... the black dragon to Fort Hensink."
"What's with the black dragon?" Stamford was unsurprised by the request as he sought some answers from the Intel Officer. "Why the need to spend so much money to obtain it? What's so special about it?"
"Well..." Trism gave a look to Lady Mona who started chanting a spell. The air shimmered blue for a moment before Lady Mona nodded and Trism explained. "She just cast a spell to prevent others from listening in."
"The black dragon is from the beyond the End Zone... And its presence will help you with your mission at Fort Hensink!"