Shopping for princesses was morally right!
It was true that Vainqueur hadn’t eaten a minion in a long while… and that he had come to realize that they had feelings beyond serving dragons… but catching princesses was a dragon’s duty! He also ate manlings on occasion, just not his minions!
He wasn’t a cattletarian!
“... Grandrake, you said?” Jajambe the shark asked Manling Victor, the two having been glued together for the entire voyage out of the triangle. The weresharks in the waters below had guided the ship through reefs and currents, under the light of the midday sun.
“You’ve heard of him?” Friend Victor answered, completely unaware of Vainqueur’s existential crisis.
“The lost hoard of Grandrake is a famous legend in the Dagger Coast. It draws adventurers and treasure hunters every now and then. Not that they have any chance of finding it.”
The mention of a hoard drew Vainqueur out of his existential depression. “It is true that Grandrake is a bit...” The wyrm struggled to find a word which wouldn’t demean the inventor of princess hunting. “Senile.”
“Dragons can become senile with age?” Manling Victor asked, obviously horrified that his own beloved master might forget him.
“Not age,” Vainqueur protested. As if the noble dragon race wasted away with age, instead of growing ever more powerful! “A curse from a princess’s magician lover. As if a princess did not want to be shown off as a priceless trophy!”
“Yes, indeed, how strange,” Victor said with sarcasm, obviously horrified.
“Grandrake suffered one of the greatest ignominy’s known to dragonkind,” Vainqueur said. “He forgot the location of his first hoard… including his favorite princess! She must have grown into a queen by now!”
“Why did you say nobody could find it?” Manling Victor asked Jajambe.
“Because I know where it is,” the wereshark replied. “And unless they are a dragon and can fly, they aren’t going to claim it anytime soon.”
A flying lair for the hoard? Why hadn’t Vainqueur thought of that?! “Minion, we shall make a stop to that place on our way to El Dorado and recover the lost hoard.”
“To return it to its previous owner?”
“Of course not. An abandoned hoard is free for all dragons to claim for themselves.”
“And there might be a weapon we can use against Wotan there,” Manling Victor said, ever dutiful.
|You have left the [Devil’s Triangle]. Field effect negated.|
“Finally!” Vainqueur’s Vizier crossed his arms and meditated. The dragon assumed that he contacted Murmurin through his [Scarlet Study] perk.
The dragon left his servant to his duty, watching the sea until they finally reached a large, tropical island. The locals had built an immense port, the biggest Vainqueur had ever seen, on its shores. Hundreds, maybe more ships similar to the Piggybank II had dropped their anchors there, while a group of them formed a defensive perimeter around the bay.
Even from a distance, Vainqueur could smell wonderful scents coming from this place: spices, meat, elves, and most importantly, gold aplenty!
“Here is Port Damné,” Jajambe the shark said. “The most rotten place on Outremonde. You can’t trade there if you’ve half a soul.”
Vainqueur quickly realized why the locals had fallen so low as to corrupt the institution of minionship. The surplus of gold had corrupted them, and without a dragon to provide a tribute to, they had let their wealth go to their heads.
So Vainqueur would relieve them of it.
“Well, as expected, unrest followed after we lost contact, but Jules ‘handled’ it,” Manling Victor said, after emerging from his trance. “Our army has grown by one hundred sentient zombies, fifty-five ghosts, and one penanggalan.”
“Your Majesty doesn’t want to know.”
“Then, Manling Victor, you shall announce my presence to these sea peasants of Port Damné, and order them to submit to my imperial authority. Tell them that I bring dragon civilization as the ‘Minion Liberator,’ which is non-negotiable.”
“You should use a pirate nickname to inspire fear,” Jajambe suggested. “These mammals only respect strength and beards.”
“That is ridiculous,” Vainqueur replied. “Superior beings have scales, not hair.”
“Thank you for the kind comment, Your Majesty,” Manling Victor replied with sarcasm, tired from the journey.
“He’s not wrong,” Jajambe shrugged as if it was ever in question.
The dragon thought about a fitting title and eventually settled on one. “Then announce me henceforth as Vainqueur Goldbeard, Emperor of the Pirate Sea.”
“As Your Majesty wishes. [Widen Voice].” Manling Victor finished to cast a spell, his words now resonating across the sea.
“People of Port Damné! I am Victor Dalton, Grand Vizier of the V&V Empire, Ishfania, and the Albain Mountains! His Majesty, the great dragon Vainqueur Goldbeard Knightsbane, Emperor of the Pirate Sea and Minion Liberator, has come to conquer your city and free all the slaves!”
“Tell them to give me all their gold too,” Vainqueur said. “For the baby coins’ safety.”
“The Empire will also take a one-time tribute of gold in exchange for bringing you dragon civilization! Think of the baby coins! The baby coins!”
“I shall give them a few hours to submit,” the dragon decided, feeling merciful.
“I think we won’t have to wait that long… and they don’t seem to want dragon civilization.”
Manling Victor pointed a finger at the defensive perimeter of ships, all of them moving towards the Piggybank II. Vainqueur heard the sound of firearms in the distance and then watched black spheres landing in the water near their own ship.
Cannonballs. How quaint.
“Then I shall give these pirates a taste of my power,” Vainqueur declared, deciding to start with his weakest ability. “[Geomancy]!”
Geomancy activated! Field Type: Ocean.
“Minion, what is a Tsunami?”
His Vizier didn’t have the time to answer, as his Perk activated first.
Under the strain of Vainqueur’s magic, the sea suddenly rose right below the ships which would do him harm. An immense wall of water sent five of them flying straight to the skies, then advanced towards the rest while getting higher and higher. Vainqueur’s attack crushed everything in its path, rising as high as forty feet.
“Ohoh, brutal!” Jajambe the shark relished at the sight of the devastation. “Father Dagon’s wrath is upon us!”
Vainqueur raised his head in pride, happy with the result.
Except the wave did not stop at the fleet.
As it kept going towards the harbor, threatening to devastate it, Manling Victor turned to his master in panic. “Stop it, stop it, stop it!”
“[Geomancy]!” Vainqueur raised his arms, unleashing the full might of his magic to steer away the destruction. His efforts slowed down the tsunami but failed to steer it away.
“[Demonic Arcana],” Manling Victor cast spells on his master. “[Misunderstood Genius Inspiration]!”
[Elemental] spells have been strengthened!
Your intelligence has increased by two stages!
“Seagardium Leviosa!” Vainqueur shouted, the wave bowing to his whims. By extending his arms, the dragon caused the tsunami to split in half, collapsing on itself.
Bending to his magic, the very sea kept widening. A dry pathway opened in front of the Piggybank II, revealing reefs, coral, and the remains of ships on the seafloor. Both halves of the ocean laid separated by Vainqueur’s might alone.
“Ha, it worked!” the dragon gloated, while the weresharks whistled at his seascaping. He had saved his new colony from his own spell!
“I think Your Majesty just pulled off a Moses,” Manling Victor replied, astonished by his master’s power.
Vainqueur had no idea what a Moses was, but it sounded awesome.
Congratulations! For surviving Wotan’s storm, bringing the wrath of Motha Nature on these puny pirates, improving your geomancy, and devastating an entire city-state’s military with a single spell, you earned a level in [Geomancer]!
+20 SP, +1 SKI, +1 AGI, +1 INT, +1 CHA, +1 LCK.
“Minion, I gained a level!” Vainqueur rejoiced. “You will fetch me a new [Heroic Crest] soon!”
“Your Majesty, what about the city?”
“Tell them that this Tsunami was the first plague of Vainqueur, sent to punish their sins against dragon civilization,” the wyrm declared. “The second will be the plague of fire… and I shall not need to send a third!”
In the end, after the sea had returned to normal, the crew landed on the city, whose authorities had promptly sued for peace. The crew planted Murmurin’s flag on the tallest building available, and the Empire won its first colony.
Vainqueur had opened a portal back to Murmurin with his [Golden Road], ripping space in half and allowing his minions to cross the ocean. When Jules stepped out of the portal as the first settler, the ghoul glanced around at the remains of the pirate fleet floating near the harbor, rubbed his hands, and then spoke words that would become famous.
“I can work with that.”
“You will,” Vainqueur had replied, from atop a pile of magical items which his victims had dropped into the sea. “For I henceforth rename this new conquest ‘Port Vainqueur.’ Slavery and piracy are sins in the eyes of the Elder Wyrm and shall be forbidden. One day, I shall split the sea again, and all slaves will cross the ocean floor to the promised land of Murmurin; where all minions are equal before thine eyes. Now, go, and make me money.”
And so, dragon civilization arrived in the New World, heralding the end of the golden age of slavery. Jajambe called dibs on the heads of rich slavers as payment for his services as a guide, and Vainqueur agreed so long as he led them to the Lost Hoard of Grandrake.
Seven years in a school for evil masterminds made someone numb to a lot of things.
Afterward, Victor spent an entire day recovering corpses thrown on the shores by Vainqueur's tidal wave, spraying them with blood from his [Black Grail], or helping Jules and his necromancers raise conventional undead. Vainqueur, as ever, simply toured the city in search for gold.
“Arise, my child.” Victor spilled black blood on the corpse of a pirate, his magic restoring the corpse to life… or an illusion of it. Funny how almost everyone in a pirate city was bound to Happyland.
“I’m… I’m alive…” the pirate, a rat beastkin, couldn’t believe it, as he looked up at Victor. “Are you…”
“I am not Jesus, Mithras, Death, or whatever god you were about to name,” Victor interrupted him. Why did everyone ask that? “See the scythe?”
“I was about to say Orknoob,” the man said, looking at the shipwrecks on the shore. “Is this Japan?”
The Vizier frowned. “No. No, it is not.”
“Oh.” The pirate sounded disappointed. “Can you kill me again then? Maybe it will work next time.”
Victor remained silent, before pointing a finger at a dwarf-made, rounded metallic vehicle crushing the harbor's pavement below its legs. The machine looked superficially like a cross between a tank and a spider, with a heavy cannon and loudspeakers on its back.
“CLASS AND GENDER EQUALITY SHALL BE ENFORCED!” Marbré shouted through the loudspeakers, as the machine patrolled the docks. “EMBRACE AVERAGISM OR BE ERADICATED! WE COME TO HELP!”
“Is that a car-cart?” the undead asked, before rushing at it to die again. “Sweet!”
By now, Victor had stopped caring. He just moved on with the next corpse, silently praying this one didn’t worship the Esoteric Order of the New World.
Congratulations! For being Scholomance’s valedictorian, surviving a meeting with King Wotan, helping your master control his magic, and then mass-raising an army of undead, you have earned a level in the ultra-prestigious [Weathermaker] class! You earned the [Devil Archmage I] Class Perk.
+30 HP, 10 SP, +1 STR, +1 VIT, +2 INT, +1 CHA, +2 LCK.
[Devil Archmage I]: You can learn and cast spells one tier above your current one. You can also learn and cast spells with the [Evil], [Fiend], and [Weather] traits, but only those equal or below your current tier access; if they belong to an exclusive school of magic, you count as if you met the other requirements.
So he had access to seventh tier spells? Sweet! And the stat bonus didn’t look too shabby either!
“I see that you enjoy your new class.” The goddess Camilla manifested in a puff of smoke near him, observing the harbor with interest. “I sensed a strong influx of necromancy, and I see that I underestimated it.”
Underestimate? They almost sank Jamaica! “If you could lend me a hand in raising these people, that would be great.”
“I have limits to what I can do without causing Mithras and other gods to knock on my door,” she said, and she sounded genuinely saddened by her chosen’s burden. “On the bright side, you should gain experience, although not enough for a new level.”
Victor would rather have this mess done quicker. He doubted a new level would make the difference against King Wotan.
Camilla seemed to notice his anguish and materialized a bag full of scrolls for him. “These are spells mattering to your specializations, especially [Weather],” the goddess said. “If you master them in tandem with Vainqueur’s own [Geomancer] abilities, it should give you an edge against the fairy lord.”
“About that, I have a very important question,” Victor turned dead serious. “Do the fomors have class levels?”
“I cannot say,” the goddess replied, her tone just as dreary as his. “Sablar is shrouding my sight on their activities, and his cultists have started flocking to Prydain. Which makes me worried.”
Worried enough to inform Victor directly. “Any suggestion?”
“Deliver your [Black Grail] to the high priest of the Thaoten empire, south of the Dagger Coast,” the goddess replied. “In exchange for the opportunity to study it, and upon learning that I favor both of you, he should provide help. Both to reach El Dorado, and in your war against the fomors.”
“If Vainqueur doesn’t pick a fight with Furibon on the way there.”
“The lich already reached the golden city days ago,” Camilla said, almost absentmindedly. “And I do not think he will leave it either.”