Vainqueur had never understood the appeal of agriculture.
How could anyone spend their life wading through dung, manhandling cows, or laboring in the fields, when they could look for gold instead? Peasantry was the very definition of minion work.
But as he opened his coin seed bag, imagining them growing into shining piles which he could then harvest, the dragon realized that he had been wrong. Watching his gold grow from the earth would make for honest dragon work.
Especially since he mostly watched his servants do the heavy lifting for him, as a true ruler should.
“Kobold Rangers!” Vainqueur ordered, as his minions dug trenches in the farm’s soil. “More holes with feathers at the bottom! My coins deserve the best accommodations!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” His reptilian lackeys happily obeyed him, while Chocolatine cast spells to help with the harvest.
“How many more fields do you want to seed?” Rolo the golem asked, his arms crossed. “Rolo must harvest his tomatoes.”
“I want a field of gold, a garden of silver, and a greenhouse of gems! Each of them as safely guarded as my vault!”
Vainqueur opened his bag, carefully taking a sweet little coin, and then put it in a hole. That was the most important part of the process, the one he would not delegate.
Like the sheep on top of the cow cake, his chief of staff ran straight to the field, followed by Tasty Allison, Corpseling Jules, and Manling Charlene.
“Hi, Vic!” Sweet Chocolatine waved at her fellow minion.
“Hi, Chocolatine.” His favored minion greeted her back, before turning to Vainqueur. “Your Majesty, we need to talk.”
“Choc, what did I tell you about the fields?” Tasty Allison told Sweet Chocolatine with a frown. “No more experiments!”
“But the tomatoes grow faster since I fed the soil with demon blood! I’m sure coins will become alive too!”
“Which will allow them to defend themselves against the vile Furibon when he inevitably returns,” Vainqueur told his minion. “A dragon must think ahead.”
“Your Majesty, that is not how coins are made,” Manling Victor argued.
“I know, minion. Your kind takes the gold from the earth and then mints it into coins.”
“You know?” His friend gave his master a strange gaze. “Then… why?”
“I thought this class system was rubbish when you begged me to become my minion, so I decided to keep an open mind. If the System can create amazing royal capes for me out of thin air, who am I to question how to farm gold?”
Manling Victor stayed silent for a second, before massaging his forehead. “I hate it when things that don’t make sense make sense.”
“Yes, minion, once again, I triumph with logic.”
“Farming gold is not planting coins in the ground to harvest golden trees later!” Victor protested. “Usually, it’s simply killing monsters who drop a huge amount of money when slain!”
That was even better! “There are monsters who give more gold than others?”
His chief of staff frowned. “That’s a good question,” he said while glancing at Corpseling Jules. “Are there monsters who drop more loot than usual on Outremonde?”
“Golden Gooses and Jackpot Golems drop an enormous amount of wealth if defeated,” the necromancer said, but quickly dashed Vainqueur’s hopes. “However, they have been hunted to near-extinction by adventurers and are extraordinarily rare.”
“The most lucrative monsters to kill nowadays are Fairy Rafflesias, Sea Serpents, and Phoenixes since their corpses can be harvested for high-quality material,” Allison said. “But good luck finding one, let alone killing it.”
“For manlings maybe, but a dragon never backs down before a challenge. We shall find these creatures and poke them at once.”
“Your Majesty, we have enough gold already,” Manling Victor said a stupid thing.
Vainqueur glared at his chief of staff. “Manling Victor, I will not allow you to act lazy while my bet with Icefang is ongoing. My hoard needs to dwarf his own, for the sake of all dragonkind. I cannot allow this poser to become the richest of them all.”
Manling Victor exchanged glances with the other minions before taking a long, hard breath. “Your Majesty,” he began. “We have too much gold in Murmurin. We are overflowing with it.”
“There is no such thing as too much gold,” Vainqueur replied, confused. “Minion, are you well? Has the fairy bewitched you?”
“No! I mean it!” His chief of staff’s words made the dragon blink. “The more you have of a commodity, the more it loses value! By harvesting so much gold, we are causing it to lose value nationwide!”
Intelligence vs Charisma check… Failed!
You could not understand the broad economic implications of the dragon way of life!
Realizing what was happening, Vainqueur immediately targeted his chief of staff with his fearsome magic. “[Lesser Demonbane]!”
The spell hit his servant head-on, causing him to stumble, but couldn’t banish the demon which took him over. “Minions, Furibon targeted Manling Victor with a foul spell!” Vainqueur panicked. “I cannot lift the enchantment!”
“Your Majesty, I am not—”
“Chief is possessed!” the Kobold Rangers panicked, Red first among them. “We have to restrain him!”
“We can’t fight a chief of staff, it’s against everything I believe in!” Yellow complained.
“Your Majesty, Victor is sound of mind,” Corpseling Jules defended the chief of staff, before saying nonsense as well. “As much as it pains you, he speaks the truth. Your gold is losing value as we speak.”
“Furibon turned my gold to lead again while I was away?!” Vainqueur growled, incensed. That explained it. The sight must have led his minions to fall to madness after breaking their spirit!
“No, no! This is natural!” Manling Victor confused his master even more. “If we bring too much money from abroad in such a small place as Murmurin, inevitably it will lose value and cause prices to increase!”
“Gold shines intrinsically!” Vainqueur insisted. “It cannot lose value, because it is by nature the shiniest metal in the world!”
“This has nothing to do with shining, Your Majesty! Currencies have a fluctuating value and the more we have of it, the less it is worth!”
What was this hysteria? Gold losing value? His hoard losing its net worth? “My hoard is the greatest in the world!” Vainqueur defended his prized fortune. “Hoarding gold increases its value, the end. To say otherwise would invalidate the dragon way of life, which unlike your insane ‘theory’ is the absolute Truth.”
“But Your Majesty, think about it,” Manling Victor insisted, having fallen too far and too deep into nonsense. “If everyone has gold, then it is not special. And with your Majesty’s actions, gold is now freely accessible to everyone in Murmurin. It’s no longer special!”
|Intelligence check partly successful!|
“Oh, I understand!” Vainqueur finally caught on. “I understand what you mean to tell me, minion. You could have said it with simpler terms.”
Manling Victor frowned. “You do understand?”
“If my hoard is only made of gold, it will seem less impressive than if I collected other shining metals to complement it! Since even my minions have become rich thanks to my enlightened leadership, I must increase my standards and broaden my horizons! I must rejuvenate my hoard with newer, more avant-garde material like platinum!”
What a great idea Vainqueur had today! Once again, the dragon surprised himself with his forward, visionary thinking.
His chief of staff exchanged a glance with Tasty Allison. “Vic, that’s the best you will get.”
Manling Victor sighed. “Good enough.”
“Not good enough, minion!” Vainqueur cheered up his minion, “Good enough is for those who settle for less than excellence! We will go beyond for my hoard!”
“So Your Majesty agrees to stop farming gold and look for new sources to decorate his treasure?”
“About that, minion, I promote you to my Minister of Hoard Research and Development,” Vainqueur said. “This is a very important responsibility since quests are becoming rarer, but I trust your innovative spirit will serve me well.”
“Well, if Your Majesty was okay with gold farming, then maybe you will agree to help work the land?” Manling Victor suggested, already at work. “Most of your empire is a desert whose underground resources we cannot exploit without serious landscaping.”
“I will try this [Geomancer] class Manling Henry told us about,” Vainqueur declared, eager to become a wizard like his cousin.
“[Geomancer]?” Tasty Allison sounded pleasantly surprised. “I was considering taking levels in that class as well; I have all the grimoires and magical weed needed in my shack.”
“Magical weed?” Manling Victor frowned at the dryad, who smiled innocently.
“I must warn Your Majesty that due to their high level, it will take time before you earn that Class,” Corpseling Jules said.
“I am a dragon,” Vainqueur replied proudly. “I will now become a wizard.”
“Oh, oh, about magic.” Sweet Chocolatine smiled at Manling Victor, who took a step back. “Vic, can you mark me?”
“You can mark any monster to teleport them to you right? Maybe it works on more than horses!”
“Oh, like I summon Manling Victor whenever I need him?” Vainqueur nodded happily. “That would be very useful.” By summoning his manling, who would then summon the other minions, the dragon could have his servants work for him at any time. Brilliant.
“Exactly!” Chocolatine recognized his genius. “It would be super-useful! For battle. For battle!”
“It’s… that’s… that could actually...” Manling Victor considered the offer before his curiosity and loyalty overwhelmed him. “[Black Horseman].”
A dark glow surrounded Chocolatine for a brief moment, before dissipating. “Did it work?” she asked eagerly.
“I don’t think so,” Manling Victor replied, Chocolatine sighing in disappointment.
“Are you done?” the scrap golem asked. “Rolo needs to work on his yard.”
“I will get the grimoires,” Allison promised.
At long last, Vainqueur would become a true wizard.
With night having fallen on Murmurin, Victor Dalton laid in his king-sized bed, trying to chase away a dangerous thought.
He had lied.
|You have one mount marked: Chocolatine de Gevaudan.|
He did successfully mark Chocolatine with the [Black Horseman] Perk. He received a notification to prove it. Meaning he could probably summon her right now.
If he could mark a monster woman and summon her at any time… That would be useful.
He could summon reinforcements if ambushed in his bedroom! Especially if he could mark more than one if he leveled further in that class!
No, Vic, that would be a gross misuse of the elite [Chaos Rider] class. A gross misuse of the power granted to you by the heavens to fight off against the fomors. For all you know, you won’t summon Chocolatine in your bedroom even if you try. And if you do, nothing would happen. Nothing at all!
Vic, don't do it.
Remember what your shoulder angel Miel said. Think about your karma. Think about the angels. Think about living with moderation and morality so you can safely retire in red tape-ridden heaven and do nothing exciting for your entire afterlife.
No, that didn’t work at strengthening his resolve. That reasoning didn’t work at all!
Victor jumped out of bed, making circles in the room while trying to convince himself not to make a huge mistake.
He had to think about mankind.
To think about his vow! To not BEEP that except to save the human race!
If he failed that test of mental fortitude, Victor condemned his entire species to destruction! That would be tantamount to cross the line, treacherously abandon his last embers of morality, and fully commit to monsterhood!
With all the perks of power, wealth, longevity, and getting laid all the time!
Victor realized that arguing with his subconscious was a lot harder than expected. It was as if he had an inner shoulder devil, but the angel had left in disgust.
Maybe he could just try to summon Chocolatine only to test the Perk. Even if he summoned that girl to his bedroom, he could resist the temptation to do anything he would regret. He had the will power.
That would be a test run to see if he could mark, say, Miel! Nothing to worry about!
“S-su…” His heart began to pound in his chest like a locomotive, his curiosity overwhelming his common sense, “S-summon Chocolatine...”
As he uttered the cursed words, a flash of bright light overcame the room, proving that yes, the Perk did work that way.
What materialized… what materialized…
It was terrifying!
Chocolatine appeared as advertised, except that she was wearing the most scandalous demon fur nightgown he had ever seen, which left absolutely nothing to imagination.
Unfortunately, she must have skinned the creatures needed for the dress only hours ago, because he could see, and smell, the blood on it. She wore a makeshift hood with a black rabbit’s ears on her untied hair… but also carried the skinned animal in her left hand, and the hunting knife she used to do it in the other.
“Ta-da!” she said, extending her arms and smirking in a way that was both endearing and frightening, due to the blood on her cheek. “So? How do I look? How do I look?”
Victor answered with a scream of terror.
She screamed back, looking like a maniac while doing so.
His undead guards standing watch over his bedroom’s door opened it, ready for battle. “It’s okay!” Victor shouted before they could attack Chocolatine. “It’s okay, false alarm!”
The mindless automatons said nothing, before closing the door behind them. “What the BEEP?” Victor asked while Chocolatine’s shoulders crumbled sheepishly. “Why are you dressed like that?”
“I…” She sounded as ashamed as he was disturbed. “I kinda hoped you would call me somehow, so I worked all evening on the dress. I was almost done too!”
“And the… the rabbit? Why are you wearing a dead rabbit’s skin?”
“Don’t male humans like girls dressed as bunnies? Because they want to eat them?” Chocolatine seemed devastated, the rabbit ears folding somehow. “You don’t like it? I blew it?”
She looked so cute and vulnerable when she said that, it made up for the horror.
That instant, Victor realized that one could feel terrified by and attracted to someone all at once. “Look,” he finally said. “What about you take a shower to remove the blood, get rid of the rabbit, and drop the knife somewhere?”
“And… and then I go home?”
“Then we try again, but do it right.”
Chocolatine beamed like the sun.
Mankind wasn't the only thing Victor screwed that night.