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92.3% Alistar Bumblebee / Chapter 24: Saving private Alexstrasza (p2)

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Chapter 24: Saving private Alexstrasza (p2)

The crew dropped me off the coast of Kaz Modan. The boatswain took me ashore by boat, and I handed over the second part of the amount. So it took four gold coins. Now I have six gold pieces left from those that Krasus gave me.

The air in Khaz Modan was slightly different from that in Lordaeron. It was somewhat warmer and also tasted of danger. Even the sun seemed to shine here in a completely different way. It was very yellow and heated so much that it might seem that it was shining on the ground with a magnifying glass.

After watching the departing ship, I shook my head and headed towards Grim Batol. It is still a week-long journey to the fortress itself. Yet, I understand very well that this can take two weeks since, along the way, I may encounter orc patrols and other dangers that I have no desire to meet.

A mountain range began to my right. It was great. If I want to get to the fortress as quickly as possible, I will need to cross it. After scratching my head, I began to walk slowly in that direction, gradually moving away from the shore.

Nature around was charming, but it didn't make any impression on me. If I only look for a local beauty, then I can definitely miss the orc squad. And this will put the completion of my mission in danger.

With these thoughts, I got to the first village on my way. It looked empty. Closing my eyes, I covered it with a small magical wave, making it possible to feel living beings. With bitterness, I realized that there was no one here. The village is empty. Several charred houses, covered with some kind of green mole, also speak of desolation. The roads were covered with plants, which indicated that no one had walked on these lands for a long time.

Carefully looking around, I continued to move towards the center. I felt some kind of oppressive pressure on me. As if someone was looking at me all the time with slight disapproval, trying to convey their thoughts to me. A very strange sensation. Slowly I continued on my way, and after a while, I reached the center.

There I froze. The view that opened up shocked me a little. In the center was a mountain of skulls, among which one could see children's and even the skulls of some animals. They were all around a large stick, on which was planted another skull, which had a small helmet with horns. It seems that the villagers tried to defend themselves, but the Horde proved to be stronger and more ruthless. They killed everyone and laid the severed heads in such a pyramid as a reminder—scary creatures.

Turning away from the pyramid of skulls, I did not dare to check the surrounding houses and make a little loot. I won't get anything interesting from this, just disappointment in myself and maybe a few silver coins. Better not to risk these few coins.

Leaving the village quickly, I continued on my way. Soon the terrain began to change imperceptibly. Large trees disappeared in broad crowns. Small elevations were replaced by stone peaks that had to be bypassed. Turning around, I saw the blue sea, which glittered with diamonds, and called into its arms. Eh, I seem to have been walking long enough, but I still haven't walked a great distance.

In the evening, not reaching the pass, I stopped for the night. From this, one could say my ascent to the mountains began, as well as an attempt to find a normal passage for myself, which would not reveal my appearance to the orcs and their allies. It was not easy since I had to be extremely careful all the time so as not to fall into some kind of abyss or run into a dead end. I did not try to climb sheer cliffs, as it was physically impossible for me. If I used magic, I would be able to overcome the biggest obstacles. But now, the closer I got to Grim Batol, the less I had the desire to reveal myself using magic. Once I had to disguise myself and hide from a dragon with a rider flying in the sky. Let's just say ... at that moment, I did not feel like a strong magician at all.

I also met the usual detachments of orcs who were engaged in hunting and also checking traps. While the troops of the Alliance have not yet reached here, they can live a more or less calm life. So, hiding, I continued on my way.

Neither rain, nor cold wind, nor hot sun stopped me. I stepped forward, sometimes taking a break to rest. I did not light the fire, as the flame's smoke can attract unwanted attention for me. The robe that Krasus gave me saved me from exposure very often, for which I was grateful to it.

On the way, I came across several more destroyed villages. Some were deserted from people, but life was in full swing there. The orcs were not at all ashamed of the fact that they seized other people's houses, having killed before that those to whom this house belonged. It didn't add to my liking. But I did nothing about it, but only continued on my way. When the Alliance's first units appear, then their lives will no longer be so calm and straightforward. I am sure that the troops of people with elves and dwarves will not spare anyone. The Horde is an invader that has brought many troubles as it is.

What else was interesting was that he found a small human reservation. I was glad that I had found them, but it was a really hard thing for me. Orcs, as it turned out, also do not hesitate to use slave labor. The reservation I found was guarded by thirty orcs with a local warlock. And the people themselves worked in the mine. They were engaged in the extraction of the necessary materials, which will then go to war. Slaves were not thinking about the ways to free themself from oppression. They thought about how to stay alive the next day, not die of hunger or cold. What was also interesting was that I did not feel any hatred directed at the orcs in them. Only in some did it smolder, hidden under the most sumptuous layers of emotional protection. It is very difficult for them, and each had to find some way to get through the next day. I had neither the opportunity nor the time to observe more. But when the Horde is knocked out of here, I will try to free as many slaves of these reservations as possible and put orcs and trolls in their place. I wonder how well they will enjoy being in such places and working for ex-slaves.

On the fifth day, I got to the pass. I have overcome many difficulties, but this is only the very beginning of my journey. There is still a downhill ahead, and it will be much more difficult since there will be many more orcs on the other side. Besides, I am sure that there will be more observers on the dragons; it will be necessary to hide from them. Having noted all this in my head, I decided to stay here for a while to mentally prepare to continue the task and get some sleep.

From this peak, the world could be seen as if in the palm of my hand. Mountains, valleys, sea, and rivers were breathtaking. All this could be considered. The clouds that once seemed so distant and unattainable were not so now. They were closer ... and as soon as you reach out with your hand, they will be near you. This is, of course, not true. The clouds, as they were high, remained so.

The next morning, ready for anything, I began to slowly descend. There are still several days to go to Grim Batol, but I don't think it will be difficult. Of course, I will have to hide and continue to step forward. But I also understand that every day the troops of the Alliance will be getting closer. The situation in the region will become even tenser, and then it will be more difficult for me to fulfill this task.

"Hey, pss," said the bushes, forcing me to grab my staff in an instant and prepare for a fight. Adrenaline hits the body in shock doses, forcing him to instantly go to the peak of readiness. The bushes began to stir and an orc familiar to me, whom I had not expected to meet, emerged from them. It was the orc Rakmar.

"Calm down," he said, raising his hands, thereby showing disarmament. But I know very well that raised hands are not at all a sign of the absence of weapons for a magician. Magic can be used in any pose. "It's me."

"Well," I said, nodding my head. "And why did you follow me?"

"I didn't follow," the orc replied and shook his head. "I knew that you would be here ... And therefore ..."

"How did you know that I will be here?" I asked him, without lowering my staff, ready at any moment to rush into battle or retreat. "Answer."

I really feel now a serious danger, since this orc could tell his relatives that he found me here and then, so to speak, I will have to tear my legs out of here as soon as possible. I didn't want this mission to fail because of one orc.

"Foresight," the orc said, not lowering his hands. "I used black magic to see where you would be."

"Black magic?" I asked him. "How many have you killed for this ritual?"

"Two," the orc replied calmly. "And what now? Are you going to kill someone who can help you and thereby doom yourself to difficulties? Or you can throw it away and listen to what I can give you."

"And what can you give me?" I asked him after some time of reflection. It is clear that I simply won't be able to get information; maybe he will demand something from me in exchange for his help. On the one hand, this is a normal decision, but on the other ... is it possible that he will try to somehow set me up ... everything goes to the fact that the orcs will lose this war. Only dragons allow them to maintain parity in battles. Still, after Alexstrasza is freed, they will no longer be able to properly withstand the forces of the Alliance, and they will have to retreat even further. If he wants to frame me, then he can just go to the leaders of the Alliance and tell me that I worked with the orcs. It won't matter to them how I did it.

"I can help you get into Grim Batol," the orc said. "I have been there and know the layout very good."

"What do you want in return?" I asked him. "What is your price for this?"

And why can't I read minds? Now I would not have faced such a choice since I would have simply opened his mind and pulled out the knowledge I needed. Exhaling, I calmed myself and looked intently into the orc's eyes.

"My price," he drawled and then grinned. "My price will be very simple, and you can definitely fulfill it. I want Kil'jaeden dead."

"Who is Kil'jaeden?" I asked him.

"This is one of the chief demons of the Burning Legion," Rakmar said. "It was he who caused the fall of my people and what you see now."

"Hmm. Then the demon must be very strong, right?" I asked him. So far, I have no desire to face the leaders of the Burning Legion. It may end in an ugly death for me. When I become even stronger, then it will be possible to think about something like this. And before that

"Yes," the orc nodded. "He is a powerful demon, stronger than you can even imagine. But he can also be defeated."

Should I agree to such an offer? That's the question? Until I am strong enough, until I can find Kil'jaeden and be able to defeat him, it will be many years. But I need to free the Dragon Queen now. If this is not done, then the war will remain in parity. In general, I am ready to agree to this, but what should I ask in return, if possible. The killing of a strong demon that caused a whole world's fall is not a cheap product.

"But besides this help, you will teach me black magic," I said to him, carefully observing the face of this orc. It changed somewhat as if he was thinking about something. Why did I decide that I needed to study black magic? The thing is, if I agree to fight Kil'jaeden, then I need to be familiar with the magic that he will use. I don't think he will use the magic of friendship and love. Knowing your enemy is half the battle.

"Why do you need this?" asked me Rakmar.

"If I agreed to fight the demon, then I need to know what weapon this demon will use. Am I wrong?" asked him, folding my hands.

"But it's very dangerous," said the orc. "I don't think you can do it. You are a weak person."

"Uh-huh," I nodded to him with a grin. "And it was you who entrusted the weak man with the task of killing one of the leaders of the Burning Legion. Clever."

"Okay," the orc agreed, after a while. "I agree to take over your training."

"Wonderful," I nodded to him. "Now, I think we need to start the main mission."

"Grim Batol is an ancient fortress," the orc began to speak.

He told me about the location of the Horde troops, about the personnel that is there. Rakmar talked about where the dragon herself is hidden and where her eggs are kept. Also, he told me that the orcs are beginning to think about the fact that they need to look for other dragons of a different color and flocks.

Only when he told me everything, we were able to continue on our way. Walking alone was not very interesting, but it immediately became much more interesting as soon as I got a "partner." He decided not to delay starting teaching me the basics of black magic.

Black magic needs energy like any other magic. But if different types can feed the magic that their source or soul reproduces, this was not the case in black magic. First, to create a black magic spell, a magician cannot use magical energy, which is generated in a normal state. For such spells, energy can be obtained after killing a person, sacrificing, or torturing. It seems to me that a Wizzard can somehow cheat and teach their source to generate this type of energy. It is just a question of time and dedication to finding a way. The second way to create a spell that can use the energy that comes from the Twisting Nether, or as it is more simply called - the Energy of the Nether.

The Twisting Nether is a formless place where magic and illusion rule. It is blurry and chaotic, with no size or shape. And to use it, a magician needs to be well prepared, not only magically but also mentally. There are thousands of different demons in it, who are eager to devour the rational in order to satisfy their hunger. It is the Twisting Nether that is almost home to the Burning Legion. And you need to take energy from there very carefully.

Void energy is very powerful, as it can be used to create other spells. On the other hand, this power is borrowed and also very dangerous for its user. According to Rakmar, this energy will cultivate in the person all his most secret desires and character traits, which he hid before. So the usual desire to command will develop into an endless thirst for power. There are many such examples that he can grovel about for days. The bottom line is that any intelligent person who wants to master black magic must be as psychologically stable and balanced as possible. I believe that I have this trait, since I have experienced transmigration from one body to another. It was not a very easy thing, psychologically. It seems to me that it was the immersion in training to obtain magic that saved me. As much as I regret it, but neither then nor now, I am not a god.

The way to Grim Batol was both interesting and, on the other hand, not very much. I increased my knowledge of black magic in theoretical terms. In practical terms, as I was without a channel, there was no growth. Now is not the time to discover and master it since I have a task. It would have been a stupid decision that would have ruined the mission.

Rakmar proved to be a very good teacher. He confirmed my thoughts that he already had disciples. According to him, during his life, he trained twenty shamans. It was very difficult for him to talk about shamanism, so I did not even question him. The information on black magic that I received from him was enough for me.

The fortress appeared on the tenth day of our journey. My calculations that the trip shouldn't be too long were wrong, and I admit it. Grim Batol towered over the surrounding land like teeth on the lower jaw of some huge creature. Not even so ... not teeth, but fangs.

Above the fortress itself, several dragons with riders circled all the time. Sometimes it was possible to notice how streams of flame burst from the fortress itself and then subside. Perhaps it is one of the dragons who is raging and is being calmed. Exhaling, I continued to closely observe the fortress. There must be some kind of secret entrance to it since it would be stupidity to break through the front door.

"Do you know any secret passages?" I asked the orc. He wrinkled his nose and then replied:

"No."

Overall, this was understandable. Secret passages are secret, so that they are difficult to find, even with magical powers. In all the time I spent traveling with Rakmar, I realized that Orcs are not very intelligent. No, they are not dumb or stupid; they are just simpler than people. Even the presence of black magic and submission to not the best commanders who have not changed their own race's fate did not change that. They don't need high technology; they don't need many other things. Orcs need only land that they can consider their own and the opportunity to live freely on it. It is a clan society that can be compared to the tribes from my homeworld. I don't really remember how they lived, but something tells me that I'm right.

"Then we'll look," I nodded to him. This will not be easy since we need to find a secret passage and be sure that there are no traps in it and that no one will find us.

The search would be time-consuming. I did not want to use magic for this yet, although I realized that I was getting closer and closer to getting down to business this way every day. Rakmar helped me find the passage, but even his tracker and tracker skills were of no help. This infuriated him, but he held himself back, albeit with the last of his strength.

One day, most of the dragons gathered in a wedge and left the fortress. It looks like the Alliance army is already somewhere very close. The first signs of this appeared even earlier, as the orcs intensified their patrols, and it became more difficult to find the secret passage. Sometimes I had to use my cloak as a disguise. Rakmar had other ways to hide from his kin.

The dragons' flight with the riders was a chance for me to get inside the fortress and do my immediate task. To do this, I need to be very careful and react quickly to all changes. While the dragons are away, I need to work.

"Rakmar, we will move inward," I told him. "You may have to kill a few of your kind. Are you with me?"

"No," the orc replied sharply. "I will not kill any other orcs. But I cannot stop you."

"Okay," I nodded to him, realizing that he decided to refuse to accompany me inside the fortress. It's good that he told me the building's plan itself, and I can somehow navigate there and not wander in the dark.

For the first time ever, he used magic, casting a concealment spell on himself. I also activated my artifact mantle and slowly walked towards a small slope, along which you can climb inside. Through this hole, some dragons emerged, which suggests that there must be a door inside that will lead inside.

Climbing was not easy, but I did it, thanks to some artifacts that Krasus gave me. If not for them, then I certainly would not have been able to climb so quickly. Inside this wide aisle was a goblin who was collecting strange brown pebbles in a small bag while whistling a catchy tune under his big nose.

"Who's here?" He asked, looking around carefully, sniffing and wiggling his ears. "Maybe winds."

I tried not even to breathe so as not to give myself away. The goblin returned to his business, but you could tell that he was expecting something by his eyes and ears. Taking a slow step forward, I froze again. The goblin jumped up and began to look around.

"Come out! I'm happy to penetrate you!" a dagger flashed in the goblin's hand. "Oh, yes, it's all ready!"

After that, the goblin very briskly ran inside and closed the door behind him with a crash. Wow ... What a strange creature. Understanding a goblin is not easy. Sometimes it seems that they are knocked on their heads. Although who knows, is this really so? I can't say anything from my belfry, since I have communicated with only one goblin in my entire life and have seen only two alive. Those who sat in the airships and attacked the Alliance army do not count as units by which one can judge.

The door that blocked the passage was rather thick, and it would not be easy to break it. In addition, it was closed with a thick padlock on the other side. Closing my eyes, I tried to sense if there was anyone there. As it turned out, no one is guarding this door. It's only good for me. I pulled out one of the artifacts that Krasus gave me, I decided to use it. He possessed a very thin blade, which heats up very quickly to unrealistic temperatures and can cut metal like a loaf of bread when supplied with magical energy. Applying energy, I saw how this blade heated up to enormous temperature. The light that the artifact gave off was blue-white and also felt warm.

The artifact slowly went through all constipation, and only after that, I pulled it out and turned it off. It was necessary to wait a while for it to cool down. It is a pity that there is no water here. When I applied it to another stone, I saw how it began to slowly melt, but with every second, it all slowed down until the artifact became completely cold, just like the stone.

Once again, I felt the space behind the door and slowly pushed them open. There was no one there. After looking around, I began to walk around the fortress of Grim Batol. My heart was pounding loudly, just showing me that I was doing a great stupidity now. When rare orcs passed me, I froze and tried to suppress my fear. I never thought that I would feel so uncomfortable on such a task.

The deeper I went, the stronger my concentration became, and the more attentively I looked around. It also affected my movement speed. When an orc walked past me with a wooden stick instead of a leg, I generally pressed myself against the stone wall, ceasing to breathe and even look at the orc. Any mistake I make will lead to the failure of the assignment.

When the orc passed me, I headed forward. The feeling that I was sinking down was not very pleasant. At some moments, I even began to think that I heard some voices or sounds. After calming myself, I continued on my way.

The fortress, from what should show strength, slowly turned into a littered trash can. Here and there, I could see the remnants of food, some kind of dirty clothes that even a goblin would disdain to pull on himself. From some places, an amber of sewage was drawn. The orcs themselves are not very clean creatures, and their smell was everywhere here. The most interesting thing was that I met some very young orcs who could be mistaken for children. I won't say they were cute ...

On the contrary, I could not bring myself to raise a hand and kill them. Something was stopping me.

The room the orc was talking about was not hard to find. It was completely unguarded, and I had the impression that everything was furnished in such a way that no one could even think of something wrong. Although looking closely, I saw several traps. Also, I felt several spells that were just waiting for the intruder to cross the invisible line. Frowning, I pulled out another artifact that Krasus had given me. This artifact was classified as prohibited, as it allowed to deactivate the protection. The only problem with this artifact is that it is disposable. I would not like to use it now. I'd rather try to cheat or hack this protection somehow.

As I continued to disguise myself, I waited and looked at the spell lines. The method used to construct this spell was not very clear to me. But this is always the case when faced with a new approach. These orcs were simple, so that was reflected in their spells. Simplicity doesn't mean their spells are bad. Sometimes, simplicity is better than tricky weaves, which may not work.

Hacking any defensive spell is not a simple action. For everything to go as it should, the magician has to study a lot and gain experience somewhere. I didn't have much experience in this business, no more than any other magician. Although developing own spells allows the magician to understand other spells a little differently. In addition, I did not forget that demons taught this magic. And these creatures are known for their cunning. So there may be more to this simplicity.

Then I again heard the familiar knock on the stone floor. To it was added more footsteps, someone larger in size and with heavy weapons that thundered. Frozen, I hid behind the nearest corner. Two orcs appeared in the passage. One was old, with a wooden leg. He looked ugly. The skulls on his neck did not attract any interest at all. The second was dressed as a typical orc warrior. But there was something in him that I could not guess about yet. Something strange and repulsive at the same time. They cursed loudly in the orcish and then stopped at the aisle to the Dragon Soul room.

An orc with a wooden leg knocked his staff several times, and the spells, like snakes, swam away somewhere. An interesting solution. I didn't think about that. I need to remember it and then work on this principle yourself. Throwing away the thoughts of new research, I waited for the orcs to take the artifact and go out into the corridor. Then I noticed how several warriors appeared around them, as well as one warlock. They looked around attentively but continued walking. It looks like I was not found. Following the orcs, I realized that we were going down to the very depths, where the dragon I needed should be.

They went to the door and slowly opened it. The guards stood on the sides and froze like some kind of golems. Although they were definitely alive. And what should I do next. If I go forward, I definitely won't be able to do anything, since I need to go through the security. In addition, there may be traps that I cannot easily get around. In general, it is better to wait and trap them in the hallway.

***

Nekros, along with their clan leader, passed through the passage, leaving the guards behind. They felt a kind of elevation from what is now happening in the outside world outside their fortress. And there the Horde was preparing to attack. They freed up all reserves, along with the dragons, as everything was at stake. Victory or death. But these little people had no way to protect themselves from dragons. During all this time, it became clear that this clan became the second most influential after the entire Horde leader.

Their captive was chained to the wall. They took some time to learn that dragons can transform into humans. But only the strongest of them. Using an artifact that they name the Demon Soul, they forced Alexstrasza into an orc-like form. Nekross admitted to himself that her form was not orc-like, but elf-like.

"Well," said the orc coldly. But to a dragon, he sounded disgusting. "Nobody will come to save you. Many races are starting to hate you dragons."

Alexstrasza looked broken. No one touched or raped her since the orcs thought it was dirty to sleep with someone who did not belong to their race. Those who dared to violate such a law were considered dirty and vile. Such orcs became exiles, and their children could never become members of any clan. It was a shame.

On the other hand, the dragon can also be broken. Especially if it's a female. One has only to start breaking eggs in front of her, as it is already a heavy blow to the mind. Of course, they still did not understand it completely, but the process was already underway.

"We will need a lot more eggs in the future," the orc said, rubbing the disc.

"No," she breathed, then closed her eyes. The shackles bound her very seriously, not allowing her to transform at will. At the same time, if Nekros needed more eggs, he forced her to return to dragon form.

"Of course, of course," said the leader with a nasty grin. "Then what do you say to that?"

He pulled out a small egg and then dropped it to the ground. The egg could not stand such a mockery and broke, splashing around its insides. The body of a dragon embryo fell to the ground. It let out a light, barely audible cry and died. Alexstrasza stared at it with wide eyes. The most incredible hatred for the orcs splashed there.

She tried to charge forward with a growl, but then Nekross pulled out a golden disc and ran his finger over it. The next second, Alexstrasza was pressed into the stone floor, and she screamed in pain.

"A-ah!"

Her eyes rolled back, her limbs slowly twisted to the sides, giving her more pain. Since she already had fractures, she simply could not contain herself and simply fainted. Necross immediately stopped this impact and grinned. He liked to feel this power in his hands.

"Come on," said the leader, looking at her blankly. He didn't care what Alexstrasza felt. The only thing he needed was dragons. But sometimes, you have to break eggs in front of the dragon's eyes in order to quickly return her to senses. "We need to look after the other dragons that are not yet ready to fly.

Nekross just nodded his head. They turned around and headed back. In their minds, they already anticipated that it was with their help that the Horde would be able to regain their positions and turn into that formidable force that was able to capture an entire country. They already have a lot of experience, and with dragons, everything will become much easier.

Walking along the corridor, they did not talk about anything. Turning the corner, they didn't even have time to react, as all the guards turned into flaming torches. Nekross, on reflexes, created a shield around himself, thereby protecting himself from the enemy's attack that unexpectedly made their way inside.

There was a snow-white flash and the sound of thunder. Nekross felt his shield burst, and after that, he felt nothing more. In the next second, he felt the leader near him lose his soul. Fear flooded his mind, forcing him to think about how he would survive, but just as he prepared to cast the spell, his skin began to ache. Consciousness slowly began to fade, but Nekross continued to cling to him ... He did not want to die.

***

I watched the warlock slowly burn out. I will not say that this is a very pleasant view. Completely unpleasant. His skin was like the skin of a burnt pig, but only in part. Another part was turned to ash. It was easy. They never expected to be attacked here. The guards didn't have any artifacts, and they didn't even have time to react. The chief had several protective amulets, but they were not very strong, and I pierced them with the third blow. The most "fat" enemy was the warlock. He managed to create a shield and tried to run. I didn't want him to start attacking back. It would be unpleasant.

With a wave of my hand, I cooled the surrounding area and quickly approached the artifact. It was lying on the ground in the remains of ash. Excellent. Quickly picking it up, I blew to blow away the remains of ash and dust. In my hand was a golden disc, which looked noble. There was a strange power inside that was impossible to use.

Taking it, I quickly headed towards the prison where the dragon was kept. Nobody was going to stop me. It seems that no one heard what happened in the hallway. But I'm sure that very soon the death of the leaders of these orcs will be revealed and I will have to leave this place. But for now, I need to get down to business.

Opening the door was very simple. I did not go inside but threw a few pebbles. They knocked on the ground, and then everything got chaotic. Spears shot out of the ground and stuck in the ceiling. A wave of green fire followed from there, which in a second turned into ice, which sealed the passage. I think I need to wait a couple more seconds to be sure that everything is clear.

This ice will not be very easy to unfreeze since it has a magical basis. In addition, I feel that a lot of effort has been put into this trap. I pulled out an artifact to cancel traps, I activated it. This artifact looked like a large stick with a small star at one end. Putting this star in the ice, it slowly began to defrost. A few minutes later, the passage was clear, but there was another door behind it.

It was already without traps; I felt it well. There were no more traps in the passage, either, so I went to the door and slowly opened it. I saw a view of a dark, colossal cave, in which there were huge chains. But there was no one in them. At the further wall, chained by the arms and waist, sat an elf. Red, dirty hair fell over her naked body. Thinness, as well as unnaturally crooked legs. Looking closely, I saw a shard of bone sticking out of one leg.

Taking a step, I began to approach. Great power was felt from this elf. Even her weakened physical form did not hint at her magical weakness. If I had faced her in battle, I certainly would not have coped. Too much strength yet. She opened her eyes, and I saw anger in them. The eyes were draconian and strange, like hypnotizing pools. But then the disk in my hand flared up for a second, and the obsession subsided. Amazing willpower. She continues to fight even in this position. Although this is a dragon that is much more years old than I can even imagine.

"You also came to use me?" said the elf. "All of you ..."

"Are you Alexstrasza?" I interrupted her speach. "Answer."

"Yes," she said. Her gaze brightened somewhat, and she focused on me. "And you ... not an orc ... Why are you here? To kill me? Yes? Then kill me!"

She barely lifted her head, exposing her neck, as if showing where I could hit so that I could kill as soon as possible. Stupid.

Exhaling, I created a healing spell and cast it on her body. She began to slowly recover. Then I pulled out a vial of regeneration potion and poured it forcefully into the mouth of the elf-shaped dragon. I never thought they could transform into humanoids. She breathed deeply, and I immediately realized that the treatment had started. Cuts and bruises slowly began to fade. The broken bone tried to snap back into place, but the spell didn't have enough power to do so.

Deciding not to touch her leg, for now, I summoned food with water and slowly began to feed the dragon. She ate greedily, and if she could, she would tear food with her hands and teeth.

"Who are you?" the dragon asked me, recovering a little. It looks like she was very badly treated here.

"Alistair Bumblebee," I introduced myself to her. "I came to get you out."

She moved her hands, and her shackles rang. It looks like she's hinting so much that I should take them off. Well, that's understandable. I pulled out another artifact and slowly and carefully began to cut the shackles. Freeing my right hand, and then the other, I slowly walked to the side. Something crunched under my feet. Looking around, I saw a brown shell.

"Okay," he nodded to her. Alexstrasza moved her hands and began to knead them. There were still shackles on the legs and at the waist. "Now I'll take off the other shackles. Hope you don't jump on me."

"No," she replied.

I nodded my head and went back to slowly removing her shackles. Very soon the shackles were thrown off. Alexstrasza took a deep breath, still staring at the disc in my hand.

"You know what this artifact is? - she asked me.

"This?" asked her again, and raised the golden disc. "This artifact is called the Dragon Soul.

"Right," she nodded, then added. "But not a single creature that was born in this world can even come close to it, let alone hold it in hands."

"Hmm," I drawled without saying anything. "Let's say ..."

"They are not allowed," she replied with a smirk. "I know this well, since I put protection on it together with other dragons. So ... I can't even help laughing with such irony. A being from outside this world captured me, and a being from outside this world set me free."

"What are you planning to do next?" I asked her, seeing as the broken leg itself healed and returned to its shape.

"I'll burn this shithole to its very foundation," she replied with hatred. "I will unleash all my rage on these creatures."

A fiery aura swirled around her. The temperature rose sharply. Taking a few more steps back, I covered myself with my hand. But then, in an instant, all the temperature disappeared.

"I want to know what you will do with this artifact?" she asked, looking through narrowed eyes.

"Destroy," I told her. "I don't need it."

The last phrase was very difficult to say. I could get most of the dragons under my control. This could enable me to become the king of human states very quickly. But this is the easiest way. If I destroy it, I can get something more. And if not, then I will think of myself as a stupid person.

"Okay," she said, slowly starting to transform. "Then you must leave this fortress as quickly as possible."

"You don't need to ask me twice," I nodded to her and then instantly teleported to the side where Rakmar was supposed to be. We agreed to meet there.

Once in the clearing, I hid the artifact in my bag. The next second, I felt a strange barrier appear around me. It completely immobilized me. Rakmar stood grinning. In his hand was a staff that glowed with an ominous green light. Trying to break free, I felt that I could not do anything.

"And what for?" I asked Rakmar. "You and I seem to be allies."

"Me and you?" He asked in a mocking tone. "An ally? You? Don't make me laugh ... I only need the Dragon Soul. And you are so naive that you brought it to me yourself."

Yes, it seems that I really am too naive since I decided that I can trust the orcs. If I get out of this situation, then I will definitely never trust the orcs again. And not only them. It's probably time to get rid of this. Although, I suspected something like that before. The magical energy inside began to seethe, preparing to burst out of my body in a stream. I didn't show my abilities and always prepared trump cards for myself in the form of various spells. I have a way out of this situation, and it does not look complicated at all. Magic is not suppressed by anything. And since I could, I should know how to get out of such a situation.

"I see," I nodded to him. "Now, I am sure that your race will not be able to survive."

"Don't be ridiculous," he chuckled, coming closer. "You can't stop me!"

He took another step closer to me. His vile face was twisted into a smile, but I did nothing. It's not time yet—a little closer. When Rakmar took another step, I took action. In one second, I summoned a long metal pipe that was soaked in my magical energy. After that, using direct control on it, I thrust it directly into the orc's chest with great force. He froze and lowered his head. His face expressed a range of feelings from not understanding to disbelief. His ultimate emotion was fear. He fell to the ground, pierced by a metal tube, and blood slowly spread from him in all directions.

In the next second, I felt the spell this orc had cast dissipate, releasing me. I turned just in time to see Grim Batol blaze with red flames that lit up the surrounding area. In the next second, there was a crash, and an enormous dragon appeared in the fireball. It growled in all space and made a quick circle around and headed somewhere unknown to me.


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
alchoz alchoz

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