Three Quest Deal (Tales of Former Dragons Book 1) (17 page)

BOOK: Three Quest Deal (Tales of Former Dragons Book 1)
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Baldazar rose to stand, but soon sat again. He felt his chapped lips with his fingertips. “Does anyone have any water?”

Toshen handed Baldazar his water skin. Baldazar emptied it, wiped his chin with the back of his hand, handed it back to Toshen, and closed his eyes.

“Can you answer at least one question from each of us?” Xan asked.

Baldazar sighed. “Very well. It appears I won’t be leaving anytime soon. I’ll answer one and only one question from each of you, so make sure it’s the question you really want to ask.”

“Answer my question,” Drakor said.

Baldazar glared at Drakor. “I couldn’t get revenge against Wolford I’s bloodline without my full strength and powers. Now I have them. After Raah split my crystal, I rapidly aged and could only cast certain spells and enchantments. I became weak, both physical and magically, even after transforming my body. It took me two hundred years to figure out how to get my powers back, but I was in no condition to undertake the quests. I also started losing my mind. I have no faith in emos, and you had something to barter with – your lives. Who’s next?”

“Do we look like people from your past?” Xan asked.

Baldazar grunted and shook his head. “I hoped I’d never have to answer that question, but you might as well know the truth. In order to transform you, I needed to base your physical forms on people, so each of you were fused with the essence of one of the first four people who attempted to kill me after Wolford found out Cierra was having my child. They were Wolford’s best warriors, unequaled in their time. Your powers and skills come from their unconscious minds. The only physical differences are that your attire matches the color and texture of your dragon skins. I thought it might make you feel more at home in your new bodies.”

“Their essence? Their unconscious minds? What does that mean?”

“I don’t expect you to ever understand what any of that means. I can’t say I fully understand it myself. Next.”

“But—”

“You asked your one question,” Baldazar said in a raised voice. “Next.”

Drakor drew his sword and placed the tip under Baldazar’s chin. “Explain using simpler words.”

Baldazar slowly pushed the blade away with his hand. “You’re not allowed to kill me, remember?” He shook his head. “I killed them by absorbing their physical form into the crystal. When I transformed you, I reversed the process, merging your physical forms into their forms. I replaced their minds with your minds – the thoughts that make you, you. Your ‘unconscious’ minds are what made you behave like a dragon. Their unconscious minds are what make you behave like men and a woman. Is that simple enough?”

“That explains many things,” Drakor said. “Is that why it sometimes feels like someone else is guiding our actions and what we say?”

Baldazar frowned. “Oh. That’s supposed to be transparent. Rutar never said anything about having that problem. I must have missed a step.” He grunted, looked down, and crossed his arms. He raised his hand to his mouth and tapped his lips with his finger several times, deep in thought. Then he looked up. “There’s nothing I can do about that now. Hopefully, that sensation will fade over time. Can we move on?”

“Why did you make us retrieve
The Book of Fusion
if we can’t read it?” Aesus asked.

“What do you mean? Although Verick was originally a fire mage, he learned dark magic from the dark elves. You should’ve been able to read the spell. Did you even look at the book?”

“Xan couldn’t read it, so I assumed I also couldn’t read it,” Aesus replied.

Baldazar shook his head and chuckled. “It’s a good thing Nashara was still alive after all these years.”

“But if I can read the spell, why did we have to come here?”

“Dark magic only works in the Dark Forest, and the strongest dark magic energy is here on the altar. The spell might have worked at the edge of the forest, but I wasn’t sure, so I made you come here.”

“What would have happened if we didn’t complete the quest tonight?” Toshen asked.

“The gemstones were enchanted to absorb your essence once it was drained of your blood, unless it was fused with Raah’s fragment to form the original crystal.”

“And what of you?”

“My essence would be trapped in the four gemstones for eternity.”

“Why do you need to get revenge against the Wolford bloodline?” Tess asked.

Baldazar raised an eyebrow. “Who are you? You’re not one of the dragon kin.”

Tess shifted her weight and put her hands on her hips. “You said you would answer a question from each of us.”

“Very well. Cierra, Wolford I’s daughter, came to warn me that his knights and mages were coming to kill me. While she was there, someone cast a spell that momentarily suppressed my powers, and they stormed the tower. Although she was skilled with a sword and fought bravely to protect me, she knew nothing about fighting spellcasters. She and our unborn child were killed by a fire blast.”

Baldazar looked at Aesus and opened his mouth to add something, but didn’t. He looked at the ground and sighed. “She was the only woman I ever loved. My only chance for happiness, and a normal life. Wolford took that away from me.”

“King Wolford V is a good and just king,” Tess said. “He hasn’t wronged you. He doesn’t deserve to die because of his ancestors.”

Baldazar clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes. “I’ve waited two hundred years for my revenge. I will not be denied. No one can stop me this time.”

“Is that why you made us give our word not to kill you?” Drakor asked.

Baldazar stood and pointed his finger at Drakor. “That’s exactly why I made you give your word not to kill me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have better things to do.”

He whispered under his breath, the crystal flashed, and he transformed into a raven. As they watched, he flew off into the night.

CHAPTER 29

Xan raised her eyebrows and looked at Drakor. “What have we done?”

“Something terrible,” Aesus said.

“You didn’t know Baldazar was going to appear on the altar?” Tess asked.

“No,” Drakor said, “we didn’t know that would happen. The deal we made with him was to do three mystery quests. He said nothing about restoring his powers, becoming young, or getting his revenge on the Wolford bloodline.”

“What now?” Toshen asked. “Do we warn the king?”

“Of course we warn the king,” Tess said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

“But do we also tell him we made it possible for Baldazar to get his revenge?”

“I say we’ve had enough dealings in the affairs of men,” Drakor said. “We don’t owe the king anything.”

“Speaking of which,” Tess said. “What Baldazar explained. About the four of you being transformed. Is that true? Were you really dragons? I didn’t know something like that was even possible.”

“It’s true,” Xan said. “The day you and your companions tried to rob us was our first day in the forms you see us in now.”

Tess grunted and grinned. “Everything makes sense now.”

“You’ve been a great help to us,” Aesus said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do any of the quests without you.”

“Agreed,” Drakor said. “We owe you our lives, and as such you are free to do as you please once we get out of the forest.”

Tess looked at Aesus for approval.

Aesus nodded. “I release you from any obligation to us.”

“So if I wanted to,” Tess said, “I could stay with you—I mean, stay with the group.”

Aesus raised an eyebrow and looked at Drakor.

“If that’s what you truly want,” Drakor said, “you’re welcome to stay with us.”

“Then I’m staying.” Tess smiled, walked to Aesus’s side, and wrapped her arms around his arm.

Aesus smiled at Tess and put his hand on her arm.

“Now that we’ve settled that matter, can we leave?” Toshen asked.

Drakor nodded. “Let’s go to the horses and get out of the forest. Then we’ll figure out what do about the king, his kin, and, more importantly, Baldazar.”

 

To be continued…

 

 

###

 

 

Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, please help inspire me for other books in the series by posting a review at
Amazon
.

 

Thanks!

 

Rainer M. Domingo

 

 

Connect with me on my blog:

 

https://rainermdomingo.wordpress.com

 

BOOK: Three Quest Deal (Tales of Former Dragons Book 1)
9.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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