“... you are asking me, your lord and master, which school my minions must attend?” Vainqueur asked the ‘interim council’ from atop his hoard, more irked with each passing second.
“No, Your Majesty,” Tasty Miel replied. “We ask you if you would kindly ban vile satanic schools, and to enforce the divine covenant drafted by your saintly Vizier.”
“Do not listen to her, Your Majesty.” Tasty Malfy glared at his rival. “She is trying to stamp out free enterprise, which has been the empire’s cornerstone since its inception! We are also very, very unsure that an Averagist education is compatible with our shared company values.”
“We are uplifting the masses and downgrading the mighty,” Marbré contested. “Certainly ours is the truest way!”
As they started arguing again, Vainqueur was starting to get a headache, and a strong urge to eat all three of them.
The council was making him work! Their work! He already had to make a grand speech to the population to quell the riots, promising sweeping political reforms, and even have his lackeys look for slimes to pacify his friend’s pet.
Although he loved ruling over peons and enlightening them, Vainqueur would have rather trained at his [Geomancer] class, so he could bury the vile Furibon under a mountain. Or the ocean. “Smart minions are productive minions,” the dragon spoke, interrupting their squabble. “But I care not which of you teach them. For you are all equally incompetent on this matter.”
“I can only applaud this show of Averagism,” Marbré said, seeing the light in the dragon’s words.
But while Malfy the Fiend seemed to submit too, the angel was aghast. “But Your Majesty—”
“I am a dragon. If you angels were wiser than my kind, then you would have scales on your wings.” The bird fell silent in the face of Vainqueur’s implacable logic. “I have spoken. Each family must send their children to be educated in the ways of minionship, but they can choose which one. For the future of my hoard, each school program will also have courses in Hoard R&D and Fairy Extermination; and the smartest minions will be sent to my new Vainqueur Watch for Thorough Fairy Destruction. You three will now leave, before the sight of you makes me hungrier.”
Understanding the subtle message, half the council rushed through the vault’s door, leaving only the other two. Vainqueur immediately noticed someone missing. “Where is Untasty Allison?” he asked.
“She overtaxed her magic replanting the fields damaged during the riots,” Charlene explained, her eyes creased by exhaustion.
“Batling Charlene, that is true minion devotion,” Vainqueur said, hoping the vampire would take after her example. She smiled in response, her lips unable to reach her ears due to the emotion. The dragon then turned to Jules the Necromancer. “Corpseling.”
“Yes, Your Majesty? How may I serve?”
“I want you to make a list of every minion in my empire, living or dead,” Vainqueur said. “A list which will include their species, age, and gender.”
“That’s an interesting idea,” Batling Charlene said, surprised. “What is it for?”
“Since taking levels in [Geomancer] takes time, I will now practice my [Dungeon Breeder] class,” Vainqueur declared. “The chaos in my empire has shown me that I must foster a sense of brotherhood among my lackeys; not only towards me, their beloved ruler but to each other.”
“It is true that the nation is a melting pot,” Jules said. “Do you intend to marry off every minion?”
“A true army of minions is united in blood, as well as spirit,” Vainqueur said. “But I shall not force any of my lackeys to breed against their will... because, in my wisdom, I will organize the perfect dates with the best partners, as I did for my chief of staff.”
It was time to introduce Murmurin to the ancient dragon institution of ‘Minion Speed Dating’.
“Why not form adventurer parties out of the population as well?” Jules proposed. “Many have formed groups of their own, but perhaps Your Majesty would have a keen eye in creating new ones.”
“You flatter me, minion,” Vainqueur said. “Do it more often, for this is an excellent idea.”
After Batling Charlene and Corpseling Jules exchanged on the ways to gain this information, Vainqueur sent them away, so he could rest on his gold, as a true dragon should.
Yet an hour later, he was woken up by the most wonderful of voices. “Uncle!” his niece Jolie called him from outside the vault, waking him up. “We are back! Can we come in?”
Vainqueur’s mood immediately improved. “Of course!”
His niece walked inside, followed by cursed Knight Kia and the Kobold Rangers. They were Kobolds in name only by now, having grown bigger and traded their silly weapons for better gear. Red had transformed into a grizzled warrior carrying both swords and firearms; Pink now wore colorful clothes Vainqueur had often seen musicians wear in manling courts; Blue covered his bones with priestly robes and a staff; Black seemed to have taken the path of the spellcaster, if the dragon could trust his new wizard hat and belt of potions; and he almost didn’t recognize Yellow beneath his glittering, golden armor.
Even his niece had changed. She covered her scales with shiny armor of fortified plates, from her head to the very end of her tail. The elder dragon recognized the metal as mithril, and while he considered it inferior to gold in shininess, it more than made up in hardness. Clearly, Jolie had learned the lesson from the fight with Lavere and trained.
“So good to see you, my niece,” Vainqueur said, nuzzling his kindred. “Have you come for the games?”
“We are going north, uncle,” Jolie said. “Kia said she would present me to the King, and a princess!”
“I have received news from Gardemagne,” her chief of staff said. ”I am recalled there for an emergency.”
“Good riddan—” Vainqueur stopped himself when he realized Jolie intended to follow the knight and may miss his minion tournament. “This is terrible news!”
“I will come back soon, uncle!” Jolie promised.
“The niece shall be defended,” Red Ranger said.
“But we may not return in time for the games,” Pink Ranger complained.
“What could possibly be important enough to cause my niece to miss my minion championship?” Vainqueur asked angrily.
“A band of fomors is raiding the northern shores of the continent, attacking isolated villages in the old Midgard Republic and the Winter Kingdom,” Knight Kia said, “King Roland believes this to be a Wild Hunt from Prydain, and he wants me nearby in case they approach Gardemagne. Reports say that even Mag Mell was sighted among them.”
A Wild Hunt. The fairies’ poor attempt at copying the dragons’ Bragging Day. “The fairies will eat a few manlings, brag about whoever has skinned the best fur, and then they will bicker and scatter,” said the wyrm, who had seen it play time and time again. “They do that every decade or so. Nothing unusual.”
“Kevin said something is wrong this time though,” Knight Kia replied, “Usually the fomors only attack mortals, but these ones thoroughly assault any living creature that they encounter, from animals to wild monsters. They even cleared out a dungeon.”
“Obviously, the fairies wish to steal all of the treasures which rightfully belong to dragonkind,” Vainqueur replied. His declaration of war must have forced them to adopt desperate measures.
“What use is there in slaying defenseless animals though?” Knight Kia shook her head. “If I didn’t know that they can’t, I would think that they are grinding like madmen.”
Grinding. The word reminded Vainqueur of the old times, when he burnt enough demons to gain [Witch Hunter] levels...
|Warning: Will you promote your [Witch Hunter] class to [Hellsing] or [Witchfinder General]? If you do not, you will continue to level up in the base class.|
Vainqueur had almost forgotten. “Menu,” the dragon said, “Detail me these classes.”
[Hellsing]: ‘You have moved beyond hunting only spellcasters, and now intend to make most classical horrors… extinct.’ If you are promoted to this class, your abilities will target more enemy types than spellcasters, and your resistance to damage will increase.
[Witchfinder General]: ‘Your hatred of spellcasters has grown beyond simply hunting them yourself. Now you command entire crusades against witches.’ If you are promoted to this class, your ability to make spellcasters miserable will increase further, and your allies will join in the fun.
The dragon considered the choice before him, before quickly deciding that with that dirty scum Lavere gone, he should no longer have any problem crushing vampires, and he already had an institute dedicated to researching ways to destroy fairies.
Yet the rematch with the wicked Furibon, cursed forever may he be, approached. “I am now, and forever,” Vainqueur declared, “a Witchfinder General!”
|You have promoted [Witch Hunter] to [Witchfinder General]. Your [Spell Purge] perk now inflicts additional [Fire] damage when dispelling a foe’s spells.|
Once more, the system proved itself as dragon-oriented, in recognizing the superior ability of fire to solve every problem.
“While you take care of the fairies, my minions will train to conquer the sea, save El Dorado, and destroy the evil Furibon,” Vainqueur told Jolie and Kia. “Again!”
Knight Kia frowned, glanced down at Jolie, before shrugging. How could that manling treat the destruction of Furibon so carelessly? “In any case, once the Goldslayer is defeated, I will lay waste to Prydain myself,” the wyrm boasted.
“There is a detail that Your Majesty should know,” Knight Kia said. “Witnesses apparently sighted a dragon among the Wild Hunt. A huge one.”
Vainqueur exploded into laughter. “A dragon working with fairies? Your witnesses must have sighted a wyvern or some drake!”
“No true dragon would help a fomor!” Jolie nodded.
“I’m just saying, you can count on me whenever you intend to attack Prydain,” the knight said, her tone almost begging. “But don’t expect an easy fight either.”
“No, I expect, and will only settle for, complete decimation,” Vainqueur said with fury. The fomors had threatened his niece, his minions, and his hoard. The dragon would do what his kind should have done eons ago, and teach them a lesson they would never forget.
“We shouldn’t be long, anyway,” Kia said. “The warband does not have the power to threaten Gardemagne, so King Roland will release me when it inevitably returns to Prydain.”
“Make sure to return in time for my minion tournament,” Vainqueur insisted.
“Oh, oh, Uncle, I have an idea!” Jolie said. “A minion battle!”
“A minion battle?” Kia raised an eyebrow.
“An ancient dragon ritual where two dragons select a team of minions each and have them fight for supremacy,” Vainqueur said. “The dragon with the most minions standing at the end wins.”
“Uncle, can I—”
“Jolie, I forbid you from making yourself a minion of that manling!” Vainqueur insisted. “You will act like a true dragon should be: barking orders to non-dragons!”
As his niece narrowed her head in disappointment, Vainqueur’s thoughts turned to his favorite minion. Barely a day had passed, but he wondered what he was up to. He hoped that he could find a way to breed.
Because considering what Vainqueur planned for him, Manling Victor would need the practice.