Mage Adam - Chapter 176
"It likely has to do with its all-eating habits," Adam remarked to the voice in his head while encasing the two skulls in ice and hanging them behind him. "Energy doesn't just come out of thin air. I can't say for certain if immortal creatures exist, but this Snow Worm must get its regenerative powers from storing all the energy of what it consumes."
Adam set foot on the frozen surface, brushing away drifting ice and snow. Near the cracked ice, he spotted numerous Energy Stones. Picking one up, he mused, "Considering this, it looks like these Energy Stones really are its waste. It must have absorbed most of the other energy."
He then jabbed his sharp claws into the Snow Worm's skulls, saying, "Let's find out if these things have souls. Forming a pact with a Snow Worm could be useful for my future endeavors."
Moments later, the voice in his head responded, "No, it only operates on the instinct to eat. Odd creature; even beings from the Abyss have souls, yet this one lacks one."
Although slightly disappointed, Adam wasn't bothered. Now that he knew Snow Worms existed in these icy expanses, he could figure out how to utilize them later on.
Kambi flew over, his face glowing with admiration. Just as he was about to speak, Adam tossed him the two massive heads of the Snow Worm. Kambi awkwardly caught them; even in their frozen state, the large jaws looked menacing. After pondering for a second, he secured them together with another vine.
"Master, you are truly awe-inspiring!"
Adam waved a claw dismissively, then seized the vine to pull Kambi closer. He peered at him with curiosity, asking, "So, what exactly are you?"
At this, Rice spat a thin stream of icy breath towards Adam's face, yelling, "Deceitful dragon!"
Kambi's expression turned icy; the vines that held Rice sprouted thorny spikes, digging into his flesh. "Hybrid dragon! Who gave you the right to speak to the Master in such a manner?"
Just as Kambi was about to deal harshly with Rice, Adam interjected, "Hold on, let him be."
Kambi tossed Rice forcefully onto the ground, cautioning him, "Mind your manners, hybrid."
Unfazed, Rice spat disdainfully at Adam, "Save your phony kindness, wicked dragon!"
Adam was unoffended. He easily flipped Rice over for a closer look, murmuring, "A genuine dragon head, not a fake. And this tail is quite intriguing."
Rice squirmed and hurled insults; some of his words seemed to be local slang. Though Adam knew the common language, he was at a loss with these colloquialisms. Ignoring the outburst, he posed a question, "So, dragonkin are hybrids between dragons and other species?"
"Wretched dragon! Release me!"
Unperturbed, Adam pressed on, "Which of your parents is dragon-born? It's rather astonishing that a full-grown dragon could crossbreed with a regular-sized being."
Rice refused to back down, trying to spit at Adam once more, but Adam kicked him away, causing him to faint in a burst of anger. Caesar, who had just come to, witnessed the vile dragon mistreating Rice and let out strange twitching sounds from his mouth before fainting yet again.
Kambi cautiously walked up and offered, "Master, I have some understanding of the dragonkin."
Adam signaled for him to collect the battle loot, then took to the air. "Fine, talk as we move. We need to find shelter before the next snowstorm comes."
As they journeyed, Kambi briefed Adam on the nature of the dragonkin.
In essence, they were the progeny of dragons and elves. However, not every dragonkin originated in this manner; the first dragonkin had established a community, making it possible for marriages within their own kind. Generally shunned because of their draconic features and presence, they usually led isolated lives in out-of-the-way places. They had become more visible recently due to the formation of the Dragon Slayer Guild.
Adam found the race fascinating. Normally, biological barriers prevented different species from breeding, but in a mystical world, those barriers might be broken. Therefore, even if dragonkin were hybrids, they might be viewed as direct kin of dragons, perhaps inheriting fragmented ancestral knowledge.
Such inherited knowledge equated to 'genuinely useful' power. Although he had enhanced his combat prowess by mastering elemental techniques, he had barely begun to explore the Dragon Plane's depths. Both the likely existence of dragons from other dimensions and the Dragon Slayer Guild added complexity to the situation. To navigate these unknowns, he had to continually grow stronger.
After a full day and night of high-speed flight, Adam eventually landed, declaring, "Okay, this is it."
Kambi touched down, looking puzzled, with four chunks of ice trailing behind him. Surveying the open, unobstructed terrain, he questioned, "Master, why this location? Can it hold up against a snowstorm?"
Adam extended his power as far as it could go, circling above to scare off several subterranean creatures. He then announced contentedly, "It can't withstand it now, but it soon will."
"Because I'm going to build a city right here."
Constructing a city was Adam's next objective.
This wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. Having learned that the prevalent races in the Dragon Plane functioned under a city-state governance model, the notion's feasibility had significantly grown.
Adam had a vision for a City of Freedom that wouldn't discriminate against any race or group, paying no mind to traditional concepts of good and bad. The city would operate on the fundamental principles of trade and commerce. Once this urban haven was up and running, he could covertly amass a treasure trove of information. He could even employ beings from various races by assigning them specific tasks.
As to whether people would flock to a city situated in such an inhospitable landscape, Adam wasn't overly worried. Wherever there are opportunities, seekers will follow. The icy plains weren't barren of resources; they simply lacked a centralized trading hub, a void that the City of Freedom would readily fill. As a last-ditch option, he could also venture into slave trading, capturing and subjugating members of common races in large quantities. Once a basic trade network was set in place, positive growth was assured.
Besides, other dragons were too lazy to explore these frigid zones, and other races presented only a negligible threat to him.
Furthermore, this city might serve as a way to establish ties with the Dragon Slayer Guild. If Adam's hunch was accurate, they may not be foes---at least not for now.
Kambi was left dumbfounded by this grand scheme and hesitantly asked, "B-build a city? In this place? With what resources?"
Adam gestured towards Kambi, their captured prisoners, and the encased remains of the Snow Worm. "With all of you as the starting point."