Chapter 716 Extorting a Dragon
After a few questions, Greem finally figured out Thunder Dragon Arms' reason for still staying on Faen.
Arms had actually broken into the Dragoncliff and brazenly abducted eleven powerful dragons from the forest dragon tribe.
This iron truth caused the corner of Greem's mouth to twitch upwards. His facial muscles were almost in a spasm from trying to restrain his laughter.
He had never thought that that one random move of his had caused the elves to suffer such tremendous losses. Greem felt extremely gleeful and exhilarated, especially after the beating he had taken at the hands of the Sword Saint.
The situation was apparent now. The thunder dragon had abducted eleven dragons of various grades from the forest dragons, but he didn't have the ability to bring them back to Lance. It was easy for Arms himself to return to Lance, but it was impossible for him to take eleven dragons with him!
With no options left, Arms could only turn his mind to the only Second Grade adept he knew.
Eleven dragons, one of which was Third Grade, three who were Second, and seven who were First.
To think that he was the one to introduce such an alluring flight of dragons to Arms, only for them to fall into Arms' pocket. Greem's was currently experiencing intense internal turmoil. His handsome face wasn't quite sure whether to laugh or cry.
Consequently, for a moment, Greem had no idea how to respond to Third Grade Thunder Dragon Arms' question.
"I can agree to that request, Lord Arms!" A crisp female voice rang out from the side, "We can guarantee that you and your dragon subordinates will all safely arrive in Lance. However, the associated costs for travel..."
Arms' eyes went wide as he saw the suddenly appearing Alice.
"Second Grade!? Even you are Second Grade already!" The thunder dragon couldn't help but stutter.
Dragons and adepts were two completely different creatures.
Dragons had long lives, powerful individual strength, and an enviable legacy.
It also caused them to develop a unique worldview.
For the dragons, a hundred years were far too short. That amount of time would pass by in a matter of a few naps. However, a hundred years would take up the lives of most other short-lived beings.
Dragons very rarely made friends with humans– not because they were unwilling, but because it was unnecessary.
In all honesty, any human that could reach a level as powerful as a dragon would usually be at the end of their life as well. Making friends out of such people wasn't practical for dragons. If the perhaps only took a nap, then by the time they woke up their friend would be long dead, with a corpse in the earth probably decomposing into unrecognizable bones.
The adepts might be reasonably powerful, but they had also inherited much of humanity's weaknesses and flaws.
Even Fourth Grade adepts could not live longer than the dragons!
Maybe it was their short lives that caused all adepts to mature and grow at a shocking speed and efficiency.
When they had last met two months ago, Alice was a dying person whose life force was in its last vestiges. Yet…yet when they met again, she had already advanced into a Second Grade.
Moreover, for some unknown reason, Arms would feel a vague sense of unease every time his eyes fell upon Alice's youthful body and appearance. It was as if there was something inside her slender and frail frame that demanded respect, even from him.
"You've absorbed the pseudo-artifact?" Arms blurted out without thinking much.
The Second Grade Green Dragon Ohgu had also become his subordinate. Arms had gained some degree of understanding concerning the things that Greem and Alice had done over the past few months.
"Not yet; I've only absorbed a bit of it!" With the restoration of her life force, Alice's pretty looks and exquisite figure had been restored as well. Her spiritual aura had also become plentiful and filled.
At this moment, just the very sight of her sweet smile would brighten the mood of anyone nearby, let alone communicating mentally with her!
This change would not be observable to weak individuals. They would have no idea that their minds were already under her control. Only Third Grade powerhouses like Arms could sense that odd overwhelming sense of familiarity that accompanied every word, action, and move that Alice made.
Arms couldn't help but frown slightly.
He didn't know when, but the spirit that Alice radiated had somehow gained a trace of Creature Affinity power!
Only Third Grade powerhouses like himself could resist the infectiousness of this Affinity power. Weak lifeforms whose Spirits were far below himself would unknowingly treat Alice as one of their own the moment they saw her.
Those who were unable to resist Alice's Affinity power would never attack her of their own will.
This…was a pretty decent method of self-defense!
That said, even if Alice were to advance once more, she was still a frail witch that wouldn't be able to take a single hit from a Third Grade thunder dragon.
Arms quickly broke free from the clutches of Alice's Affinity and reminded himself of the topic they were discussing.
"You have a way to send eleven dragons to Lance? Tell me, how much would it cost?"
"As you know, passing through the planar door means an unavoidable confrontation with the Fourth Grade witches. As such, I need to expend extra efforts to help you hide the aura of the dragons. I will lower the price for this service and only ask for two hundred thousand magical crystals..."
"Two hundred thousand magical crystals? Not much, not much at all. I'll take you up on that."
Honestly, this was the most challenging part of the smuggling operation.
Trying to bring eleven dragons through the planar door under the watch of a group of high-grade witches was no more difficult than an ogre successfully advancing to become a rogue and then proceeding to steal from a dragon's hoard.
The unique odor and elementium aura of the dragons would not be able to escape the spiritual senses of high-grade witches, even with dozens of kilometers between them. That wasn't even mentioning the fact that most of the eleven dragons were First Grade. They didn't have the power required to conceal their own auras.
If Arms was to boldly approach the portal on the day it was opened, there was no avoiding his fate of being captured and slaughtered by the Fourth Grade Pale Witch.
Before Arms could agree to the offer with a brilliant smile, Alice followed with another sentence.
"…and for passing through the planar door, ten thousand magical crystals for each First Grade dragon, twenty thousand for each Third Grade, and fifty thousand for each Third Grade…"
"So expensive?" Arms' smile froze on his face. He kept it up and said, "Very well, very well. That's not a problem."
Unfortunately, Alice wasn't done speaking.
"…the same price for teleporting from the headquarters of the Witch Alliance to the Tower of Fate…"
Arms couldn't even keep on a forced smile at this point.
"…and the same price again for teleporting from the Tower of Fate to Lance."
This time, Arms' face turned utterly green. His odd, narrow pupils filled with the anger of humiliation.
All these teleportation fees added together was already pushing toward a million magical crystals. Even if Arms were a dragon lord, he would have had trouble paying such a massive amount of money.
It was practically forcing a dragon to hang himself!
"However, considering Lord Arms' financial situation, we can accept payment by installments, pawns, or pledges with other items. Of course, if Lord Arms is willing to join the Crimson Clan, the costs as mentioned earlier can be immediately slashed in half." Alice looked at Arms with a big smile on her face, as sweet as an angel. Yet, Arms clearly saw on her back a pair of devil wings that couldn't be any blacker.
"I could never bow my head before a weakling. That is the unchanging will of us dragons!" Arms still proudly roared even when he was cornered.
"What a shame, then!" The smile on Alice's face was still the same, "Since you and your subordinates are not members of our clan, you are unable to enjoy the privilege of having the costs reduced by half. Given that case, Great Lord Arms, I wonder how you intend to pay us for the teleportation costs?"
Arms deflated almost instantly, despite his prideful and unyielding attitude just a moment ago.
For the first time in the past two months, he couldn't help but regret how many dragons he had abducted.
If…if only a few less green dragons had chosen to follow him, then the financial pressure he was facing might be just that bit less. A million magical crystals. It was a million magical crystals! If he owned a million magical crystals, why would he have needed to spend so much time and effort to run to a different plane to rob those brokeass goblins?!
He had been roaming Faen Plane with the cute emerald dragon over the past two months–as if they were on their honeymoon–even as he basked in the adoration and admiration of his subordinates. Arms had been up in the clouds over his personal charm and had been giddy with joy.
However, at this moment, the only thing left for him was unending frustration and regret!
With the hoarding habits of the dragons, he should be able to fill in the massive sum he was missing if he went to borrow from the cute female dragon!
When he thought of Iritina's coy expression filled with admiration for himself, Arms hesitated.
The selfish and lustful nature of the dragons was known throughout the world.
He put himself in Iritina's shoes. If he were Iritina, Arms would probably fly into a rage the moment he realized the dragon he liked had set their eyes on his hoard.
No! He couldn't try to borrow anything from Iritina!
How about making the other dragon subordinates pay for their own teleportation?
If he did that, these dragons he had managed to draw to his side would probably leave him immediately.
It was a difficult problem no matter how Arms thought about it. The previously prideful and intimidating Arms instantly turned into a frustrated teenage dragon, unable to make a decision even after he gritted his teeth and pondered for most of the day.
"Lord Arms, we can accept other treasures as payment if you have of such things in your possession!"
"Dream on. You evil fellows; don't ever think of getting your hands on my treasure!"
Like an ignited explosive, Arms immediately flew into a rage the moment someone even implied laying a finger on his treasures.
"Then… Lord Arms, I have another plan here for you to pay with contributions instead. Were you willing to give it a listen?"
At this point, Greem very clearly smelled a thick scent of conspiracy around the sweetly smiling Alice.
Ahem. Arms was in for trouble.
Editor Ryu: Alt title: "How To Fleece Your Dragon"
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