Today, an uninvited guest had graced the third garrison with its presence. It was just the crack of dawn when the loud yawn of a soldier interrupted the morning tranquility. He woke up, picked up his iron spear and began trekking towards the outpost for his shift. There had been no wars at the borders for decades; no one knew why the aristocrats had insisted on placing eight thousand soldiers here. Were they afraid that the smaller southern kingdoms would attempt an invasion? Ha! What a joke.
The soldier, Grey, exchanged a few words with a familiar colleague before taking his place in the outpost. He leaned against the wall and shifted into a comfortable position for work. The other guard that had just been relieved of his duty left the tower for the camps to catch up on some good sleep.
The morning sky was still muddled with the remnants of night. Soon enough, his eyelids began to droop, fighting a fruitless battle against the lull of sleep. There was still some time before the camp’s morning drill so Grey figured a little nap wouldn’t hurt. The commander wouldn’t patrol this area anyway so he leaned back heavily and allowed his sight to blur.
Wait a minute. Why is there a skein of migrating geese in August?
Three dark dots had appeared on the horizon. Amid his drowsiness, Grey decided that it was a mass migration of geese. However, it morphed into a different illusion once the dots got closer. Was that a flying ship?
Grey blinked his bleary eyes. He was no stranger to cargo vessels since his home was in the southern territory of Petresarz. The province was blessed with a diverse range of water bodies so boats were just regular sights.
He chuckled a little at the floating vessel. What an odd dream. What kind of ship was that? Where was its mast and sail? Why was this ship floating in the air?
Grey looked away; every glance of it felt like an offence to his intelligence.
But soon, he froze. Grey was seeing something he’d never forget for the rest of his life. Two massive dragons with a wingspan of more than twenty metres were flying on either side of the weird ship.
He could barely look away from the purple dragon that was several times larger than the other. The dragon was covered in inky purple scales. It had the head of a scorpion, massive wings that threatened to cover the sky and a dark hooked tail. The slightest glance of it was enough to give Grey horrible goosebumps.
He’d locked gazes with the brown vertical irises of the purple scorpiondrake. Its unnaturally narrow irises, eldritch face and heinous span of barbs that lined its body was absolute nightmare fuel. The beads of cold sweat that dotted Grey’s spine jolted him awake. This wasn’t a dream; it was real!
Sentries had to have great sight to be enlisted. Grey rubbed his eyes and studied the sky once more. Alright, it really was a floating ship accompanied by two massive and fearsome monsters.
“Enemy in sight! Enemy in sight!” He sounded the bell urgently.
The soldiers in the camp immediately shot up.
“Where are they?!”
“Where’s the enemy?”
Hoards of soldiers tumbled out of their camps with weapons, forgoing their armour in the moment of urgency. The overall quality of the Aomarian soldiers was superior to those of the other kingdoms and duchies without a doubt. The regular border corps were able to enter formation with such short notice to defend the empire’s border.
Locke and Angelina took in the chaos beneath with a wry smile. Their floating vessel wouldn’t have startled the border army if it wasn’t for the scorpiondrakes. They hadn’t factored in the additional bulk the six scorpiondrakes onboard would’ve added to the floating vessel and it’d forced them to a lower altitude of two thousand metres.
Their journey so far has brought them across many countries. Most of their routes had involved barren lands so they hadn’t stirred much fear but things were different whenever they flew across populous areas. Their presence had never failed to cause immeasurable fright and structural damage to the inhabitants below.
Most of the smaller countries weren’t as prosperous as the Kingdom of Faustian. The presence of level-two Erdritters was close to non-existent, let alone level-one Ritters. It also didn’t help that most of the level-one Ritters were summoned away by the Hall of Knights; there was no one left to subdue the chaos stirred by the passing group. Who would’ve dared to go up against two transcendent-rank and six base-rank major monsters anyway?
The kings of those countries were incompetent and brainless. There was nothing they could do except surrender to the frightening hoard of flying entities. Those that had stronger forces that willed to negotiate with the people in the sky were met with failure; they cowered as soon as they caught a glimpse of the Sanctum’s emblem on the vessel.
Those of higher calibre would’ve heard plenty about the Sanctum. The Sanctum was one of the strongest forces in the Three Western Isles and their casters were existences to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, Locke had run out of luck at the Aomarian borders today.
The third garrison corps below sent out a level-one Ritter after slight chaos. Lien, the vice commander of the third garrison corps was the only level-one Ritter present in the camp.
“Show me proof of your identities and movement permits!” Lien floated in front of the floating vessel. There was not the slightest falter in his tone despite the proximity of multiple formidable major monsters.
Low altitude flight didn’t require any movement permit but the startling presence of multiple major monsters was just too hard to ignore. Who knew if their presence would bring great harm to the Aomarian towns without proper control? Locke stepped forward with a smile and gave a knight’s bow to the level-one Ritter.
“So you don’t have any movement permit?” Lien removed his helmet on the deck, revealing a middle-aged face.
“Yes, Herr,” answered Locke. A quasi-Ritter could command the respect of a level-one Ritter so Lien had allowed him to explain his circumstances.
The middle-aged Ritter scratched his blond hair, he wasn’t too sure what to make of Locke’s current situation. His attention was fully locked on the two transcendent-rank Akanasds. Lien was confident that he could handle the sapphire monster but the purple monster was a chilling presence even for him.
What kind of hellish monsters are these? Lien couldn’t help but curse internally.