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A note from Void Herald

Vainqueur the Dragon's audiobook is finally available on Audible! Share the word, for the glory of the hoard!

Vainqueur had a strange feeling at the sight of this bandaged corpseling.

The exact same pressure that came off from Wotan, if not worse. His minions seemed to recognize the newcomer: Manling Victor had turned paler than a corpse, and Untasty Allison was speechless.

“Oh, Great Sablar, is it apocalypse o’clock already?” the mummy minion asked his master. “Is it time to lay waste to the living?”

“Start with these five,” the worm said, before raising a barrier around his toy hoard and himself. “Kill them all. I do not care how.”

“Ah, nothing better than a massacre in the morning.” The strange undead turned to the group, glancing at Manling Victor in particular. “I see that you have gotten far in the world, cultist. Mayhaps you can entertain me before we start indulging in violence?”

The Vizier, who had remained a silent statue since the mummy’s appearance, recovered his words. “In hindsight,” he finally spoke up. “This may have been a mist—”

The mummy quickly raised his finger and zapped Manling Victor with a ray of green light in the middle of his sentence. The magic blast sent him flying through the threshold and out of the pyramid, the Vizier’s flesh burning where the spell hit.

“Vizier stratagem six,” the corpseling mused, his finger still shining. “‘The law of no talking.’

Vainqueur immediately lunged at the cowardly mummy, only for a screen to appear before his eyes.

Akhenapep’s [Spell Trap] triggered.

 

Instant casting of the spells [Timeleap], [Sablar’s Repulsion], [Meteor Rain].

Vainqueur barely had the time to watch the undead glitch out of existence, before an almighty invisible force propelled everything backward. The temple exploded, its walls shattered, and all people present but Sablar were repelled in all directions.

The dragon ended his brief, uncontrolled flight by smashing into a lead pyramid, crashing through the outer walls. The dragon grunted as he recovered his bearing, the top of Sablar’s pyramid having been blown apart. While the deity calmly read a book from within his barrier, the dragon could see neither the enemy nor his minions.

He did notice the rain of stones in the sky though.

Dozens of meters-wide fiery stone fell from the heavens towards El Dorado and the surrounding jungle, ready to devastate it on impact.

His minions! His goldified minions!

Vainqueur immediately flew up and started blasting the falling stars with his breath, destroying them before they could hit the ground and devastate the city below. He couldn’t vaporize all of them, some hitting gold pyramids and collapsing them, others devastating the jungle beyond the city walls. Mighty forest fires started everywhere.

The sound of magical explosions caught the dragon’s attention, as he noticed the mummy engaged in an aerial, magical duel with the vile Furibon. While the lich flew by his own means, a dust tornado carried Akhenapep up from the ground. Furibon unleashed fiery stones of his own and ice spikes; the mummy casually blasted the projectiles with green rays, while coating himself in protective spells. Activating his Blinkblink ring, Vainqueur prepared to attack from behind.

“[Za Warudo]!” Furibon briefly blinked out of existence, only to reappear with his jaw broken, Akhenapep’s fist within an inch of his skull. The lich went flying down, near a meteorite crater.

The mummy then turned to Vainqueur, and the dragon realized that the creature could see him even while invisible. “[Accelerated Entropy].”

Instantly, Vainqueur’s rings crumbled to dust, his Blinkblink effect cancelled. The dragon let out a roar of rage at the undead’s cruelty while flying straight at him, claws extended.

“[Nuclear Winter].” Akhenapep unleashed a mighty storm of shining green ice at Vainqueur, damaging his scales and inflicting excruciating pain.

Warning: You are losing 100 HP per second of sustained fire! You have been [Irradiated]! Healing effects will be greatly weakened for you!

 

You have lost a quarter of your HP.

Vainqueur activated his [Spell Purge], his defense pushing away the biting cold. Even better, the negation of the spell activated the new benefit of his [Witchfinder General] class, burning off the mummy’s hands. The dragon opened his mouth, ready to blast him apart.

“[Greater Seal: Dragonfire], [Accelerated Minor Seal: Holy Fire].” The dusty undead quickly covered himself with protective spells, his scroll-skin turning to black steel and a complex symbol materializing on his chest. “[Adamanskin], [Accelerated Glyph of Sablar].”

The dragon immediately unleashed a stream of fire; but instead of consuming the mummy, his witch-burning flames swirled around him like harmless flickers, absorbed into the chest tattoo. Vainqueur wisely chose not to activate his [Fire Crown]. Instead, he used [Shining Majesty] to radiate light with his scales while getting closer.

His golden beauty was too much for the mummy, who hissed in pain and retreated before the dragon could grab him. “[Alacrity], [Accelerated Hasten].”

Akhenapep’s spellcasting time is drastically reduced for all Tier III spells and below for thirty minutes.

 

Tier III? What purpose did it serve—

“[Piercing Magic Arrow].” Akhenapep fired a volley of five golden arrows at Vainqueur, and they hurt. The mummy unleashed a second, then a third group before the dragon realized that these spells somehow bypassed his [Spell Purge].

Furibon, who had recovered enough to fly back into the fray, shouted a warning at his 'ally.' "[Pierce Magic Arrow] ignores all magical protections, wyvern!"

“[Piercing Magic Arrow], [Piermagarrow], [Pimarrow], [PMA]!” The more Akhenapep cast, the shorter the name of his spell, until they became incomprehensible noise. The constant magical artillery barrage only increased in violence, the rain of golden arrows itching his body and piercing his hide.

Warning! You have lost half your HP!

As his HP dwindled faster than Manling Victor’s pants during breeding, Vainqueur had no choice but retreat, only for Akhenapep to direct his magical artillery at his left wing, shredding its skin. The dragon lost control of his flight and crash landed into a goldified street.

He couldn’t fly anymore.

He couldn’t fly!

All dragons could fly! This was heresy!

Akhenapep attempted to nail Vainqueur on the ground, but lightning bolts from Furibon forced him to focus his rain of arrows on the lich. Furibon teleported away each time the artillery barrage threatened to hurt him, causing the mummy to adopt a new strategy.

“Come to your Ur-Pharaoh, armies of Sablar!” Akhenapep raised his hands from the top of his dust tornado, while his meteor rain subsided. “[Ur-Pharaoh Defenders], [Accelerated Uranium Elementals Summon].”

In a flash of light, animated masses of green, shiny rocks appeared around the mummy, instantly rushing at the grounded Vainqueur. At the same time, two giant gates of stone rose around the left and right sides of Akhenapep, opening to reveal a dark, underground tomb on the other side. Giant, armored undead knights and rusted copies of Rolo the Golem walked through in regimented battalions, trampling the golden street under their footsteps.

“This is cheating!” Vainqueur protested, blasting the green rocks with his searing flames before they could approach. “Minions cannot summon more minions in a minion battle!”

Dodging a spell from Furibon, the mummy spat on the ancient tradition and vanished inside his dust storm with a final curse. “[Radioactive Sandstorm].” The dust tornado turned greenish and radiant, before slowly expanding across the city, forcing his lich foe to fly back.

The undead’s minions noticed Vainqueur and charged at him. The dragon rose on his back legs and activating [Victory Fist] as they closed the gap between them, punching an undead knight through the chest and then another. The smaller golems, though, jumped at him, hanging from his shoulders, wings, and neck. Vainqueur snarled as he took a few steps back, the minions threatening to overwhelm him.

Blasts of black fire and jagged beams shot off most of the golems, while hordes of insects started eating the undead alive, disrupting their battalions.

On the right side of the devastated street, Tasty Malfy and Untasty Allison appeared, the first summoning demonic locust clouds, the other vines to entangle the mummy’s summons. The wicked Furibon flew above them, containing the expanding sandstorm with a purple barrier.

On the left, Friend Victor led the group of demons he had called against Wotan, having himself transformed into his overgrown goat form. They immediately engaged the undead knights, turning the entire area into a warzone. Dozens of gold statues shattered or broke from the fighting, the dragon thankful they had brought the battle away from Sweet Chocolatine and Felix’s trapped forms.

“Take a message to… don’t care about extra cost… transport them…” Vainqueur barely heard Demonling Victor's conversation with his troops, their words drowned by the noise of spells and weapons clashing. A succubus opened a portal to Happyland and fled through, while Demonling Victor raised his scythe to cast a spell, “[Control Weather: Sunny Day].”

Demonling Victor immediately negated the mummy’s unnatural sandstorm, causing it to collapse before its diseased winds could reach Vainqueur. The skies cleared, the sun shining brightly on the disoriented Akhenapep and the warzone around him.

“[Permascan].” The wicked Furibon cursed the mummy with his magic by surprise, a floating screen appearing above his head.

Akhenapep, the Ur-Pharaoh

 

Type: Black Pharaoh (Undead/Eldritch)

 

Level: 85 (Ur-Pharaoh 20/Sablaris 20/Chronomancer 30/Dark Lord 10/Sealmaster 5)

 

HP: 2214/2550.

 

Weaknesses: Spirit, Life, Holy.

“Level 85?” Untasty Allison panicked, while the gates remained open, more reinforcements coming.

“A capped [Chronomancer] and [Sablaris]?” Even Furibon was afraid!

But Vainqueur? Against an enemy with less than three thousand HP? The dragon wasn’t impressed, having more than twice that amount. His [Witchfinder General] instinct told him that like any non-dragon wizard, that mummy could hit hard, but couldn’t take much damage in return. “[Geomancy]!” he snarled, after shaking off the last of the golems.

Field Type: Ancient Ruins.

 

Effect: [Earthquake].

 

While Tasty Malfy was accidentally knocked back and Untasty Allison endured, both Furibon and Friend Victor simply flew as the first tremors started. The very ground around Vainqueur shook, houses collapsing and enemy minions being thrown off their feet. The road of false gold broke, rifts appearing everywhere. One of the mummy’s gates crumbled, but the other endured the attack, allowing more monsters to go through.

“[Za Warudo], [Accelerated Scrying Shield],” Akhenapep vanished once more, replaced by flying stone spears, piercing golden arrows, and a monstrously huge, winged, many-eyed squid. The wicked Furibon repelled the projectiles with his own spells, while the newly summoned creature raised its tentacles threateningly at Victor.

“Ah'mglw'nafh shuggoth!” it hissed in the ancient, lead-laden language of the Moon.

Charisma check successful! [Madness] negated!

 

“Y' ymg' mgepuln gnaiih!” Demonling Victor answered in the monster’s language. The squid stopped, exchanged a few words with the Vizier, then let out a sound which the dragon took for a laugh.

Then it turned on the mummy’s armies, smashing golems with its tentacles on its way to the last gate.

“Vic, what did you do?” Untasty Allison asked, breaking rank with Malfy and Furibon to cast healing spells on Vainqueur. “[Full Heal].”

You recovered 10 percent of your HP. [Master’s Shield] granted you the [Regen] status!

 

“Oh? I told her that I knew her dad, and we exchanged pleasantries,” Demonling Victor said as he cut off a golem in half with his scythe, while Allison used the same spell again and again on her master. “She made a very inappropriate black cat joke though.”

Akhenapep suddenly teleported into their midst, taking the trio by surprise. He hit the ground with his talon, causing spears of stone to rise from the pavement below the group. Demonling Victor immediately raised his [Spirit Shield], stopping the deadly spell, while Allison quickly cast a spell. "[Cybele's Tree of Life]!"

A tree of pure, sacred green light erupted below Akhenapep, its holy energies making it squirm and shamble.

“[Mean Look],” Akhenapep retaliated, his funerary mask somehow glaring menacingly at them, with a particular focus on Untasty Allison.

[Instadeath] negated... for you.

 

V&V stood proud, but the dryad instantly collapsed, her eyes lifeless. Before Manling Victor could even shout her name, the mummy disintegrated her with a green ray. “You will raise her later, minion!” Vainqueur tried to inspire hope back in his minion’s heart. “For now, we prevail!”

Charisma check successful! Your minion’s stats increased by one stat each in desperation!

 

Both members of V&V lunged at the mummy, scythe and fist raised. Akhenapep glitched out of existence before Vainqueur’s hand could squish him, unleashing a disrupting wave of energy in all directions.

Most of your minion’s buffs have been removed!

 

[Master’s Shield] re-activated! You gained the [Regen] status.

“He leaps through time!” Furibon shouted from afar, while he and the demons tried to contain the constant reinforcements by reaching the last gate. Malfy was busy shaping a bridge of ice over the enemy army to better circumvent them.“[Time] effects are useless against him, and he can move even inside my own [Za Warudo]!”

“Leap through time?” Demonling Victor quickly figured out the enemy’s technique, “He teleports to the future, bypassing all attacks! That’s his strategy! He summons monsters, traps and area of effect spells before skipping town!”

"Then he will reappear at the same spot where he last vanished." Vainqueur raised his hand, and as he had expected, the mummy popped back where he had vanished the first time. The dragon immediately poked him in the face.

The godly minion raised his arms in protection, and instead of being snapped in half by Vainqueur’s blow, simply stumbling back. His metal scroll-skin mostly resisted the attack, although the proximity with [Spell Purge] lifted some of the mummy’s protective spells, wounding him with fire. Furibon's screen above his head showed the damage.

HP: 1720/2550.

 

That was all? Vainqueur decided to simply eat the mummy alive, but it started retreating at indragon speed, retaliating with a quick volley of golden arrows. His minion immediately rushed to his side, his [Master’s Shield] activating to help Vainqueur recover from his wounds.

Unfortunately, the mummy immediately noticed.

“Feel the power of decay, dragon. [Fallout]!” Akhenapep cast another spell, his body turning greenish. His scroll-skin radiated a sickening light, making Vainqueur ill.

All creatures near Akhenapep will lose 2 Max HP per second, except [Undead], [Eldritch], [Alien], [Insect], [Elemental] and [Artificial] types.

 

If your current HP surpasses your new Max HP limit, you will develop a [Radioactive Tumor].

Demonling Victor unleashed a stream of black fire that, instead of being fully drawn into the mummy’s seal protections, both overwhelmed the mummy's defenses and wounded him. Vainqueur rejoiced at the sight of that minion killer’s pain, once again preparing to squash him.

Raging with frustration, Akhenapep raised his hands, unleashing the same repulsion effect he used at the fight’s beginning. His pulse sent both members of V&V backward, throwing Vainqueur against a pile of golden bricks, and his Grand Vizier on another. The dragon quickly found himself buried beneath debris.

Vainqueur barely had the time to raise his head, to see his prized minion cornered. “[Victor’s Skull Sentries].” Demonling Victor's summoned skulls swarmed Akhenapep and briefly distracted him, allowing their scythe-wielding master to get back on his feet.

"[Black Curse]!" Vainqueur's chief of staff shouted, but his magic failed to affect the mummy, forcing him to engage the mummy with his scythe. Empowered by his magic, Akhenapep dodged every attack.

"You force me to desperate measures!" Demonling Victor raised his free hand...

And ripped his boxers away!

[Exhibitionist] activated! Demonling Victor's evasion increased!

 

The mummy trembled before the minion's sheer manliness, as he was forced into close combat.

Demonling Victor had the advantage in close combat, swinging his scythe and briefly forcing his foe on the defensive while avoiding any spell. Yet Akhenapep stopped time again, and when it resumed, all of the flying skulls exploded mid-flight while shadowy chains restrained their summoner. Demonling Victor found himself trapped on one spot, while Akhenapep charged a powerful attack.

The dragon struggled to escape the rubble and rescue his minion, but his wounded wing worked against him. When he managed to throw off the last of them, he was too late.

“[Atomic Ray]!”

The mummy unleashed a devastating blast of energy at Demonling Victor’s waist, snapping his body in half.

Vainqueur’s eyes saw red, as both halves of his minion fused back into the shape of an unconscious manling Victor. Was he… was he dead?

“Stratagem thirteen,” Akhenapep mused, “the rule of corpse disposal. [Piercing Magic Arrows], [Accelerated Disintegrate]!” A volley of golden arrows transpierced Manling Victor’s corpse before a green ray of light disintegrated his flesh. Within the blink of an eye, only his minion's scythe remained behind.

No…

Not again!

[Berserk]! status applied!

It already cost him a fortune the first time!

Vainqueur’s vision turned red, unleashing a stream of flames to the heavens in fury. He clawed Akhenapep, this time the blow powerful enough to force him on the defensive. Meanwhile, Malfy, the wicked Furibon, and their allies struggled to close the gate, the number of monsters going through having turned unmanageable.

A Happyland portal opened once more, Manling Victor’s winged servant slithering through… only for the gate to widen further and further, and a familiar red dragon to step through, unnaturally being ridden by her minion.

“Uncle!” Jolie shouted, like a true dragon [Paladin]. “Golden justice is here!”

At this point, Vainqueur was too pissed to care.

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A note from Void Herald

For those who are interested, I have published a new story, Never Die Twice, here on RR; unlike Vainqueur, this book is patron-commissioned so updates won't have a set schedule (although I do have a sizable backlog). 

That battle was heavily inspired by my experience with isometric RPG (especially Throne of Bhaal Ascension); that's the kind of games that make you fear epic level spellcasters. 

For that superboss battle, I rolled for each character involved. Victor didn't pray to Dice enough.

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About the author

Void Herald

Bio: I'm Maxime Julien Durand ([email protected]), a European warlock living in the distant realm known as France, spending half my time writing and the other half managing magical websites.

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