The wavering light of the torch illuminated the layer of ice that sloped into a chasm. The low temperature had caused a thick layer of fog to form that seemed to muffle all noise.
“Brendel.” Veronica’s voice carried a small buzz in the air. She turned around, her piercing emerald gaze locking onto Brendel. “How long do you think Arreck needs to arrive at the heart of this temple?”
“Half a day, or maybe forever. It depends on how well Arreck knows this area.” Brendel held his torch over the chasm, trying to gauge its depth as he added, “Arreck’s cunning is so well known that even bards sing of it. He was perfectly fine ruling the highlands with his iron fist. Do you really think a man like this would blindly walk to his death?
“His blind faith in All For One might have influenced his actions, but it does not mean that he is a mindless fool incapable of thinking for himself. I’ve fought with him before, so I know this very well.”
“So you’re saying that we have half a day?” asked Veronica.
“That’s the worst-case scenario. However, it won’t do us any good to assume otherwise,” answered Brendel.
“Can we make it in time?”
Brendel’s answer to the question was to stare at a certain dragon. Shitah wiped the edge of his lips as he said through a mouthful of honey, “Don’t look at me like that! This route is definitely faster, I swear -”
“On what?” Brendel countered. “Perhaps, for example, on the third golden scale of Bahamut’s neck?”
“Hey, watch it!” yelled Shitah. In the second Twilight War, the Midgard Snake Jormungandr had bitten onto Bahamut’s neck, and thus the third golden scale was lost. Ever since then, the wound was treated like the scars of a soldier, and the missing scale was revered by the dragons as a symbol of courage and honor.
To swear upon this golden scale was the most sacred oath that could be taken by a dragon. Even someone as cynical as Shitah would never swear on it on a whim.
“Do you know what you’re talking about? How dare you make me take the sacred oath!” the fat dragon screeched angrily.
“How unfortunate this is. You are now working for me, yet I need to make you swear an oath just so I can believe your words. Is there an employer who has worst luck than me? I’m sure that Marsha has seen all kinds of things from the heavens, but definitely nothing as absurd as this!” Brendel drawled. “Shitah, I’m sure you too understand why I’m reluctant to believe you.”
Shitah’s jaws opened and closed like a gaping fish. “B-but, that was because they were enemies! I’m not lying…”
“Since you’re not lying, it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s honor if you were to take the oath now, would it?” Brendel smiled. Looking at the duke’s smile, Shido and Scarlet felt as if they were in the presence of a true and worthy leader.
This self-absorbed, conniving –
“Fine, I’ll do it!” Shitah said defeatedly. “I swear on the third scale of the Dragon God, everything
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