Wizard! Chapter 517
Bruno didn’t have much he had to do to control the train. If things operated as normal, he would only have to operate when starting and stopping. He put a hand over his mouth to hide a yawn. That was at the same time the dragon roar sounded out through the sky.
“What was that?” Gregor asked.
Bruno shrugged, “Just a yawn.”
“I swear I heard something like a dragon!” Gregor stuck his head out the window… only to have Bruno yank him back inside.
“Don’t be daft kid. If there is a dragon, you don’t want to be sticking your head out the window. If there isn’t a dragon… don’t stick your head out the window.” There was another, closer roar, and then a loud thud toward the back of the train. “Hmm.” Bruno looked down at the instruments, “Looks like we lost some speed. We’ll need to pick up the pace to keep time.”
“Are you deaf?” Gregor started heading toward the rear of the train, “There’s a dragon that’s landed on the train!”
Bruno grabbed Gregor by the back of his collar and yanked him to a stop. “That’s right, and what are you going to do about it? Become a light snack? Best stay here where it’s safe and let the professionals do their job.”
The soldiers inside the carriage heard the roars and then the thud. The roof of the carriage bowed in, and then started tearing apart. “Get ready, men!” shouted the captain of the soldiers.
The roof was soon torn open, and a long neck stuck into the carriage- only to be met with a dozen spears being stabbed at it. There was a scraping sound as the spears impacted with scales that were often harder than steel. Then most of the spears withdrew with blood on their tips.
“Keep going men, it’s only a little one! A dozen yards from head to tail at most!” The captain leading the soldiers repositioned himself further to the side as the dragon tore open a wider hole and dropped its body into the carriage, taking up almost the whole width even with its wings furled. He dodged its lashing tail and thrust into its side, once again drawing blood. “Watch for its breath! Disruptive formation!”
The dragon clawed at the soldiers in front of it, as well as trying to bite down on them. Claws scraped on metal, injuring several soldiers. Then the dragon roared. The mana in the area instantly flowed toward it, and the dragon reared its head back.
At the same time, half of the soldiers stepped forward, thrusting their spears into its neck, cutting short its roar while at the same time causing gouts of blood to rain down on them. Then there was an explosion, and the dragon fell flat to the carriage floor.
The captain shook his head and deactivated the magical bait. It wasn’t much but a large ball of magical materials that did pretty much nothing… except it cycled a lot of mana around through its frame. “Not bad men… but next time you’ll remember that dragon-resistant armor isn’t dragon-proof. You still have to avoid getting hit.” He looked at the men who had nasty gashes across their chest, even through their armor. “Remember, scars don’t say ‘I’m a great warrior’ but ‘I forgot to duck’.” He shook his head, “Think of what would have happened if it wasn’t a small one? These scales would have been an inch thick, minimum. Yet you barely even managed to pierce these… and you thought the extra strength training was pointless?” The captain shook his head. At least it had only been a small one. He hadn’t particularly wanted to be in a train crash after he was flattened by a dragon.
William looked over the report on the dragon attack, comparing it to the witness accounts from previous attacks. There had been different dragons in the same general area. That meant there were probably even more that they hadn’t seen. There were a few solutions to the problem. First, they could strictly limit the quantity of magical materials transported through the area, keeping below a certain threshold where dragons were interested. That could work, but it wasn’t a solution. On the other hand, hunting dragons down wasn’t much better. Small dragons weren’t too big of a threat, though soldiers could still die fighting them. Large dragons, however, would take more than a single squad, and it couldn’t be counted on that people would be ignored attacking them. The report wasn’t clear on whether or not the dragon just recognized the gevai as a threat or noticed the bait wasn’t really what they desired and grew angry.
Even if hunting dragons wasn’t a threat, William didn’t want to hunt them to extinction. Sure, they were dangerous, but extinction wasn’t something that could be undone. Even if they still lived in other mountains or other countries, intentionally wiping them out just didn’t feel right. On the other hand, he wasn’t a fan of the people who wanted to breed dragons for materials either. He didn’t mind people farming animals for meat or hides, but dragons were dangerous enough that they couldn’t be allowed any freedom in a farm. Not that other farm animals were exactly free, but cows had some room to roam around. He respected animals enough to want them to be kept in tolerable conditions.
William went from thinking about how to mold a slightly more distant future to a more current problem. The League of Sovereign Humans continued to cause trouble. It was time to issue an ultimatum. Perhaps things had already gone on too long, because of their inconvenient location. Either way, William had prepared a list of their leaders, and a list of reasonable reparations they might pay for the ships they had sunk. If he actually wanted to go to war, he could have quite easily had unreasonable reparations requested, but he didn’t want that. He had yet to work out all the details, but the ultimatum would include a lack of any good faith effort on the part of the League to be a declaration of war. Along with that would be the declaration that all of the leaders and any who stood in the way of reaching them would forfeit their lives. William imagined Western Liaoyang wouldn’t like military ships carrying soldiers going through their waters- but if it had to be done, he would do it.