Chapter 440: The Red Dragon Queen's Punishment
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
They had only managed to beat back the Void Tyrant, and still, there was the matter of the cracks all over the place. Anything could happen at this point. A grim look settled on Link's face at the thought of this.
The cracks must be sealed up as soon as possible.
Link remembered the words of the Travel Magician Aisenis Grey, "Find Jogus, quick."
Just then, the air was filled with the whirring of huge pairs of wings. Link looked up and saw around ten Red Dragons descending from the sky towards him.
Link's memory was impeccable; there was nothing he couldn't commit to memory, even a dragon's face, and there above him were all the familiar faces he had seen back at the Dragon Temple.
That's quite a party. Link was taken aback by the reptilian party that had gathered around him.
The Red Dragon Queen raised her shoulders imperiously and folded her dragon wings before explaining herself with a smile, "You possess the Dragon Power, and even managed to reach the Legendary level. This is quite a feat, something that has never happened in dragon history, and so we have all come here to bear witness."
While speaking, the Red Dragon Elders had flown close by. As they were forbidden to fly above their queen, they descended to the ground a few hundred miles away and took on their human forms as they came over.
Their eyes were fixed fiercely on Link when they came close enough.
It was as if they were aggressively peeling him open with their eyes to see what made him tick inside, making Link squirm with unease.
Gretel sensed Link's discomfort and waved a hand. "That's enough, I've checked him out, Link's Dragon Power is pure in essence. Why don't you go back to Dragon Valley? Oh, and this is Astral Magician Lucia Silverstar. Take her back with you, she's been hurt. Felina, there's a dwarf who also needs attention. Take him back with you too. You go on ahead. I need to speak with Link in private."
Though the Red Dragon Elders kept on shooting suspicious looks at Link, a quizzical expression on their faces, their queen had given out her orders, and so they had no choice but to withdraw for now.
Before leaving, Link noticed that one of them looked like he was about to say something, but the other Elders had reached out to pull him away before he could speak. This troubled Link somewhat, but he did not pursue the matter any further.
Before long, the Red Dragons flew off, leaving Link and Gretel alone in the woods.
Gretel began walking in the direction of the Dragon Valley. Waving a hand at Link, she said with a smile, "Come on, let's take a stroll through these woods and talk a bit so that I may better understand how you attained that Dragon Power of yours."
Her current appearance was a bit peculiar. She was wearing a dark red battle robe that came down barely to her knees, revealing a pair of calves white like the tips of bamboo shoots, while tightly-knitted red Dragon scales covered the vulnerable parts of her shin. Both sides of her waist, which were left exposed, glistened with the same red Dragon scales as well. Her belly, on the other hand, showed her slick, white skin unhindered by neither armor nor scales. She wore a kind of dark red body armor on her upper body which covered her upper arms and left her scaly forearms exposed. Propped up on all this was a vibrant, graceful face.
This must be her half-dragon form. Ordinary folk would have been stunned speechless at such a sight, as it was not something ordinary folk had any business seeing in their daily lives. Still, the Red Dragon Queen's current appearance was one of vibrancy and exquisiteness, blending together perfectly with elements of majesty, sexual appeal and grace in such a way that would leave a lasting impression on anyone.
During his battle with the Void Tyrant, he could not give her a proper look, but even now, when he tried to take in her features safely away from the heat of battle, he was so dazzled by them that he could not help but immediately avert his eyes from her.
He turned to face the road ahead. "It was a fluke. I don't even know how I got it."
Link also wanted to understand more about his current situation. Though he had somewhat grasped the fundamentals of his transformation ability, his mastery of the Dragon Power remained incomplete, and he still could not pull off a successful transformation. If there was anyone in the world who could help him achieve mastery, that would be the Red Dragon Queen herself. So, he nodded and told the queen without omitting anything of how he heavily damaged his body after casting a Legendary Spell, his thirst for power later on, and finally how he fled to the volcano where he plunged into the lava lake beneath.
Gretel listened attentively to all this. When Link finally finished, she let out a sigh, a look of amazement on her face. "This must be providence from the God of Light, in all the tens of thousands of years of Dragon history, your case may be the first of its kind. Come, let me take a look at your power. "
Link extended a hand, and Dragon Power began to condense into a red ball of power above his palm. As this was Legendary-level Dragon Power, it seemed extremely viscous, almost like a huge water droplet. Link remained calm throughout all this, managing to keep the surface of the ball of energy as smooth as possible, such that it resembled a pristine gemstone from an angle.
Upon seeing the ball of Dragon Power, Gretel let out a slight shiver. She waved a hand at it, and Link could feel the power in his palm being tugged slightly by an unseen force. Understanding that it was the Red Dragon Queen's own energy, he began loosening his grip on the ball.
The pristine gemstone lightly floated towards Gretel. Being free of Link's control, it started to evaporate slowly, and a scarlet heat wave emerged from its surface.
Gretel stood motionless, observing intently the disintegrating ball of energy. Seconds passed, and she suddenly opened her mouth to lick at it gently, as if tasting something edible.
Then she stopped abruptly, lost in deep thought as she stared at the ball of energy.
This was the purest form of Dragon Power, absent of any imperfection. It may even surpass her own Dragon Power in terms of purity.
Logically speaking, this Dragon Power was something she had planted a part of herself in, which meant both their powers shared the same source. She could not think of a logical reason behind this, other than the fact that it had been due to something innate in him.
Watching her stand quietly for a while, Link finally asked, "Your Majesty, what do you think?"
"Ah? Oh... Good, very good,"said Gretel absently, bouncing the ball of Dragon Power back to him.
Link reached out, letting it seep back into his body, and he asked, "Back then, when you gave me some of your Dragon Power, I could feel it integrate with mine completely, and there doesn't seem to be any adverse reaction to it, which means that there's not much difference between real Dragon Power and mine. So I need to know, is there a chance that I am able to transform myself into an actual dragon?"
One of the biggest advantages of a dragon's body was its ability to fly at a remarkable speed and its economic energy consumption. After witnessing the Red Dragon dukes' flying prowess with his own eyes, Link had nothing but admiration for them.
Gretel pondered for a moment, then shook her head. "I'm not sure, I'll need to check your physical conditions. Now don't move."
Gretel placed a hand on Link's shoulder, guiding a thread of Dragon Power into Link's body. It was as fine as a strand of hair and served as a probe, allowing her to begin inspecting his physical state.
Throughout all this, Link felt almost nothing, except for a slight itch which he was able to take. This went on for around half an hour, before Gretel finally pulled her hand away, a look of confusion on her face.
"What is it?" asked Link.
Gretel continued walking forward. "Strange indeed, your body seems to be in peak condition. One might say it surpasses even that of an Apocalypse Dragon Guard who has undergone harsh training in the secret arts. Your body structure and mine are quite similar but different in a few other trivial aspects, such that it may even border on perfection. But your physiology lacks one integral element."
"What is it?" asked Link. Up ahead, a tangle of vines obstructed Gretel's path, and so he cast the Magician's Hand to clear it away.
Gretel strode over as Link cleared away the vines before speaking with a doubtful tone, "The dragon's heart. All dragonkind, even the Wyrms, possess a nucleus of some sort within their bodies, where a dragon's bloodline magic is stored, one of which is the dragonification technique. Your Dragon Power, however, is distributed equally throughout your body, absent of any nucleus... Logically speaking, without a dragon's heart, your Dragon Power should have begun to dissipate at this point, but how is it possible that it has managed to stabilize and even kept on increasing?"
Such a phenomenon had far transcended Gretel's understanding of Dragon Power.
In front of them flowed a brook. With a nudge from his will, rocks floated up to the surface of the water and formed a stone bridge across the stream, paving the way ahead for both of them. "Looks like there's no way for me to attain the body of a dragon," he laughed mirthlessly.
The Red Dragon Queen may not have fully grasped his current condition, but he had some inkling as to how he was able to obtain such an extraordinary form of Dragon Power.
There was a high chance the game system may be taking on the role of a dragon's heart, supplementing Link's Dragon Power reserve. Without it, the Dragon Power inside his body would, as the Red Dragon Queen had said, slowly fade away.
As she walked along the stone bridge, watching the clear stream flowing by, Gretel suddenly stopped. She sat on the edge of the bridge and started dangling her feet in the water on an impulse. "Come on, sit down. Loosen up a bit."
Link obliged, sitting himself down three feet away from her.
With a gentle gesture from her hand, Gretel cast the Magician's Hand, removing Link's shoes and socks. "Soak your legs a bit."
Since she insisted, Link might as well take her up on her offer.
After sitting down, Gretel started kicking up the water like a little girl, and splashes of water that she sent up glistened in the light, reflecting the whiteness of her exposed legs.
"It's not entirely impossible for you to attain a dragon's body. I could help implant in you a Dragon's heart, and in that heart, the bloodline magic of the dragon race, including dragonification."
At those words, Gretel turned towards Link, her golden eyes fixated on him.
"However, everything comes with a price in this world. The dragon's heart, dragonification itself, the many forms of the dragons' bloodline magic are deemed priceless treasures among my kind, it can not be given away for free."
Link could not make direct eye contact with the Red Dragon Queen; she was just too radiant. It was as if all the light in the world had coalesced on her, and one look was all it would take for one's mind to be swept away by her terrible brilliance.
That was not a good thing for any Magician.
Turning away to look at the clearwater, Link laughed, "Then I don't want it. Besides, I only wanted a dragon's body so that I could move faster."
This had somehow angered the Red Dragon Queen, as she stood up and laughed coldly. "The dragonification technique is a priceless treasure of my race, and you intend to use it to move faster? Blasphemy!"
Link hurriedly explained himself, "Ah, I'm really sorry, I did not mean to offend."
He found himself staring at the queen's bare legs as she stood up, and immediately turned away, in case this offended her even more.
"Your apology means nothing. As punishment, you'll go to the Dragon Valley by yourself, and no one will guide you through the Mist Maze!"
The Red Dragon Queen did not sound all that angry, but as soon as she finished, she leaped powerfully into the sky. The resultant shockwave caused Link's stone bridge to collapse. As he fell, Link had wanted to use Levitation but felt a disruption in his Energy. Unable to react in time, he fell into the stream with a splash.
And all it took was saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Looking up at the sky, the Red Dragon Queen had taken on her dragon form. With a whisk of her wings, she stirred up a gust of wind that splashed water all over Link again before she finally flew off into the distance.
A voice echoed back, "If you can make it through the Mist Maze by yourself, I'll grant you the dragonification technique."
Link stood up and shouted into the distance, "Really?"
"I never joke about these things."
So all I have to do right now is pass through the Mist Maze, thought Link. Shouldn't be too much trouble, and on the off chance I can't find my way out, there's no harm in calling for help.
At that moment, Link noticed a bright light shimmering into view. It was a mission.
Mission activated: Escape
Details: Without the aid of the dragons, make it through the Mist Maze alone.
Reward: 5 Jogus.
It was about time these missions started giving out Jogus. and it just so happened that Link was in dire need of it. With a sudden burst of energy, he immediately accepted the mission.
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