It was yet another evening when Adamrys, the Akanasd sovereign, had finished circling its territory. It went about a leisurely pace back to its nest perched atop the fountain.
“You won’t be staying in Morphey Forest for long, no?” Adamrys folded its wings neatly and made a gentle landing on the lake’s bank.
Locke reflectively pulled the grilled fish away from his lips. “Yes, Lord Adamrys.” This was the first time the Akanasd sovereign had spoken since Angelina left.
“Will my child…” Dark vertical irises reflected a bonfire and words were left unsaid.
“Angie will be coming with us!” said Locke firmly, staring back into the Akanasd’s eyes. He’d handled more than hundreds of slaves and had solicited with level-one Magisters; Locke wasn’t as weak as he was when he’d first met Adamrys. Angie was a beloved familiar and companion. Angelina had spent years on the scorpiondrake, their bond was not something that could be severed by the Akanasd sovereign’s wishes.
Adamrys’ mood dampened visibly, causing the atmosphere to shift into something heavier. Though the Akanasd wasn’t trying to establish dominance deliberately, Locke was having a hard time enduring its immense presence. After all, this was the first time he’d been in the immediate proximity of a transcendent-rank major monster.
The sensation of a sliding bead of sweat across his forehead reminded Locke of something. He resisted the Akanasd’s overwhelming presence and asked, “Lord Adamrys, are you familiar with planar wars?”
The Akanasd sovereign froze and landed its swaying hooked tail on the ground with a silent thud. The pressure imposed on Locke had weaned a little.
Adamrys was quiet, so he continued, “We’ll be leaving Faustian half a month later, then we’ll leave for the planar war in another month. It’s without question that Angie must come with us since it’s the princess’ familiar.”
Locke’s words were an unintentional sting. The transcendent-rank major monster was recognised as a level-one lifeform across most planes. It went without saying that Adamyrs was no stranger to the danger of planar wars; it knew that those were merciless even for level-two or three lifeforms.
It didn’t help that Locke’s gaze was firm and certain. Adamyrs knew that the young man was not a liar. The absence of level-one Ritters in the kingdom was noted since last year and soon enough, level-two Erdritters were missing too. Things were off; even the Akanasd sovereign had begun to question their whereabouts.
Since Adamrys had lived for aeons, planar wars weren’t a foreign concept. It had even participated in one or two of them when it was a younger scorpiondrake. Adamyrs had personally witnessed the horrors of wars. Lives were robbed for the sake of conquests and only lifeforms above level-one were able to ensure their survival.
Wait a minute. It thought. Since when were lifeforms below level-one mobilised for planar wars?
The Akanasd sovereign glanced over at Locke and thought of the high-rank Knechts that were missing from Faustian and its surrounding kingdoms. Ah, everything made sense now. Though Adamrys was a major monster, it was capable of speaking human language. As such, it had built its personal information network which kept it informed about current events in Faustian and the nearby kingdoms.
The current planar war was waged by both the Sanctum and Hall of Knights. Even if Locke and Angelina were to take away Angie by force, the Akanasd sovereign couldn’t do anything. The organisations held overwhelming influence over the Three Western Isles. Things could easily turn sour if they wanted revenge after the conquest. The scorpiondrakes of Morphey Forest were at risk of enslavement and that was already considered as the best-case scenario.
While casters had always campaigned for the conservation of their native fauna, the concept would be supported only if their interests weren’t affected. The vulnerability of their kind wouldn’t amount to much if they’d offended the casters; the only thing that awaited them would be the cold hard experiment benches in the Sanctum.
Following that, the Akanasd sovereign left Locke alone. Naturally, Adamrys was concerned for its youngest child. Yet, it still had to prioritise its mate and other children. Knowing better thanks to its traumatic experiences in the past planar wars, it could only relent at the overwhelming authority of the Sanctum and Hall of Knights.
The Akanasd sovereigns spent the subsequent week coddling their little Angie. They’d brought various precious enchanted fruits and major monsters to the young scorpiondrake. It seemed as though they’d sensed Angelina and Locke’s true motive behind returning Angie to their nest but there was nothing they could do.
Getting granted a chance to spend more time with their missing child was a luxury. The scorpiondrake parents weren’t about to nitpick. Plus, they could utilise this chance to help boost Angie’s capabilities, which would increase its chances of survival amidst the planar war.
On the fourth afternoon after Angelina’s departure, the Akanasd sovereign brought Angie three high-rank major monster crystal cores for dinner. One of them was a shadow core, the other was a hydro drake core and the last was a terra core. They’d most likely collected the shadow and terra cores from within Morphey Forest. The drake core, on the other hand, had probably come from Adamrys’ loot.
Dragons hoarded treasures and while scorpiondrakes were drakes, they too had fallen into the same tendencies. Adamyrs had most likely gotten the drake crystal core from slaying a closely related drake. Angie wolfed down the gracious offerings from its parents and slipped into a deep slumber.
Three days later, a crisp roar rumbled the ground. Angie stretched out its sharper claws and climbed out of its cave. Its scales were now a darker green. Angie had grown into a six-metre long scorpiondrake, which was a length that came close to its older siblings. It was just a fresh out of advancement and its potential was absolutely outstanding.
Physique was a vital influence on the capabilities and potential of a major monster. Despite just being a high-rank major monster, its comparable size to its base-rank siblings had made it apparent that Angie’s bloodline was relatively pure. Locke couldn’t help but notice that the Akanasd sovereigns’ younger offsprings tended to shine the brightest.
Among Angie’s six base-rank scorpiondrake siblings, the one that came closest to its potential was the sixth child. Locke had remembered it vividly since Angelina had originally requested the Erdritters for it when they’d entered the valley for the first time.