"He should have just used that Helmet and-"
"Stop your dumb backseat comments, Seth. That girl is obviously a champion. If he assassinated her, her goddess might curse him." Hermes scolded.
"These spirit flames, is she a champion of a god of death like you, Uncle?" Hephaistos asked the god beside him.
Hades had a light smile playing around his lips. It was one of the few times the blacksmith god had seen his stoic uncle smile.
"Yeah, and I can't wait to rub it in her face if our little blacksmith wins."
-- Keväti Kuinen--
"Seriously, A dragon?" Seth uttered when he spotted the giant figure gliding in the sky. They were still far away but the bard was able to see the ruins of the old capital with <Clairvoyance> from the Eye of Argos.
The ragtag team of champions had spent a little more than 5 days flying and riding their mounts. Since nobody was watching them anymore, they had nothing to hide. They could have been quicker, but they had to face this land's abominations once again after leaving the fog behind.
They had underestimated their enemy. Nobody expected a zombie dragon. They knew about the dragon bones, and that their enemy was a necromancer... But what kind of broken powers did it need to resurrect something like a dragon?
How were they supposed to expect them to bring out a weapon of mass destruction? Even as an undead, that thing was the equivalent of a nuclear warhead.
Seeing the dragon in the sky, they could completely throw away most of their previous plans. They could not proceed like this.
"Let's take a break first. I'm sure I can erect a totem of concealment." Twinkle the goblin shaman suggested. Everyone was exhausted and agreed with the suggestion. They would need to calm their thoughts.
"I will add an illusion barrier." Cade offered. Misto joined the two ladies in the concealment of their campsite. The three already had some practice in this, as they did something similar during the breaks on their journey.
Even if they had gotten rid of the tracking devices, they had to stay vigilant in case the necromancer sends scouts. Also, to evade the abominations that roamed the place. They had not come across a surviving city in this place. To make things worse, many of the abominations or amalgamations in this place had reached the carbonized stage, meaning they at least dropped useable souls, unlike the undead participants.
Seth still felt peeved when he thought about this. It was also suspicious, but it was a thought he had long stepped in the background in the face of the dragon ahead.
He looked over and watched the hero, Caleb, the dwarf, Marcel, and Brock training with their new weapons to "get acquainted" with them. Though, it was mostly their method to clear their mind.
The dragon was clearly visible, even without skills. All of them were slightly shaken by the sight. Seth, the merchant, the archeologist, Ellie, the fortuneteller, Rich, and the saintess on the other hand were brooding over the fire.
Not all of them had hidden cards like Seth, but it was enough to come up with a plan. Since they didn't know the situation in this place, they had only a rough outline. Nothing they could come up with would be able to face the dragon.
Watching the warrior swing around his weapons, reminded Seth of his talk with Polter, the dwarf.
Polter and Seth had sat down in a moldy tavern to talk. This was before they left the mist.
"You said you might have a weapon I can use." the dwarf asked almost politely.
"What about the <Ithildin>?" Seth counter questioned.
"Yes, my ring is made of dwarven silver."
"How is it made?" the shining eyes of the blacksmith almost scared the dwarf.
"I-I can't tell you because I don't know. My grandfather created the ring."
"Can I meet your grandfather?"
"He is also in Chrona, so it won't be a problem to meet him once we returned, I guess? But you should know that he probably won't easily tell you about it. He is really traditional; you might have to pass his test." Polter cautioned
"I understand. By the way, if your grandfather is a blacksmith and you are an ori dwarf, it means you come from a world where magic had developed for quite some time, right?" he asked
The dwarf nodded.
"Since you have a way to conceal your items from my appraisal, do you have a way to appraise this?" he finally said and showed Polter a poleaxe. The dwarf eyes had widened when his eyes fell on the full-metal polearm the blacksmith brought out.
"I-I...I don't exactly, but I am sure I will be able to manage." Polter's eyes shone like searchlights.
It was true that, even though they did not have a specific appraisal skill, people with high-ranking weapon classes had a knack to find out the powers of a weapon. Seth was sure the dwarf could manage. In addition to his class, there was his blacksmith background, and the sword did not have any drawbacks, either.
Thinking about it and seeing Polter's confidence as he grabbed the polearm gave him an idea.
"By the way, if you can handle this one, I might also have a shield that goes with it." the blacksmith added with a smirk.
"A shield, too?" the dwarf asked like a little an excited child. His former roughness was gone.
"You could also take a look at this spear. They might all come in handy."
"The real problem is that dragon," Hubert exclaimed loudly and brought Seth back to the present. The other had been talking about ways to get rid of the dragon.
The most obvious was Caleb, the dragon rider. But the man in question instantly shot down this idea. There was no way for his skills to work on an ancient zombie dragon controlled by an overpowered necromancer.
"How about the Koor Worm?" Seth threw into the conversation. He remembered the signals.
"What?" everyone called out. Half because they didn't know what the beast was, the other half because they knew what it was, and Seth had to be crazy to try and "use" it.
"If we can make that colossal sea dragon fight the zombie dragon for us, we can proceed as planned." the blacksmith asserted.
"How are we even supposed to find it?" Hubert asked.
"That's the easy part. It is actually much closer than you may think. The question is, who do we send to lure it there?" the bard asked and looked in a specific direction. When the people at the campfire followed his gaze, they immediately realized who he was looking at. Yes, there was no one better fit for such a heroic act of bravery.
"If this works, we can proceed with the original plan." Megan cheered happily.
"Right, if both sides have weapons of mass destruction, it evens the battlefield," Ellie whispered sinisterly rubbing her hands. It seemed like the slime rancher couldn't wait to watch a real kaiju battle.
"Not quite, if this works, we should even be able to add onto the original plan." Seth opened up to them.
He let them in on the little secret of how he was able to know the Koor Worm's location and why this was important to the plan. It explained what he meant by "adding into the plan" and why he would dare to think of using the beast. They had already seen and heard too much that day to be surprised anymore.
All that was left was to share their plan with the others during the meal. When they started cooking, Cade, Twinkle, and Misto returned from setting up the safety measures.
"Bad news. The ruins are covered in trap formations." Twinkle reported. Cade nodded beside her. They had scouted a little after finishing their work.
"They were laid by one from our party. He was an expert in these things, but I saw a lot of it over last week. I'm sure I can make a way without him noticing. But it will take some time to unravel those." she pondered.
"That comes in handy. We can use some time."
They shared their plan with the newcomers. Although they looked at them as if they were crazy at first, after listening for a while they also agreed that this was their best chance.
When the hero and others finished training and finally joined the rest of the group for the meal, the hero found a brave and heroic task already forced onto him by the majority of the party.
All that was left was to wait for their chance and twinkle to open a way for them.