The Crimson Dragon - Chapter 11
’’As the Crimson Dragons are the strongest among the Five Coloured Evil Dragons, their dragon whelps must be the most powerful among all dragon whelps as well.’’
This belief was actually flawed. Although these little crimson whelps had an advantage in terms of attributes, they lacked inborn talents when compared to the other four. All they had from birth was immunity against flames and heat, which was undoubtedly underwhelming.
Despite having a human soul, Claudius was no exception. Apart from being fine with extreme heat and fire, he had no other talents. His swimming and diving was mediocre at best, but this already gave him an edge over other crimson dragons. Claudius could hunt in the ocean, on land, as well as in the sky, and he could spew a short flame column from his nostrils. Frankly, this was nothing special when considering that all kinds of magic and supernatural skills existed in this world. When confronting his enemies, Claudius could either burn his targets or slash at them with his sharp claws like a madman. Practically speaking, crimson dragon whelps or toddlers could be considered no better than dead if they were unprotected or abandoned by their parents. Not even one out of ten of them would be able to survive until the age at which they would develop the skills to survive on their own.
Back to Claudius, he now hunted surreptitiously every once in awhile. On the days he did not go hunting, Claudius would pick and eat the mushrooms grown on the logs in his newly created room.
’’Well, life is full of ups and downs, and things will not always go the way we want them to. I guess it's fine to feel frustrated sometimes. Just you wait...... Things will go my way after a century or two!’’ Claudius comforted himself while chomping on mushrooms.
To be honest, cultivating mushrooms was actually a good move. It was a stable source of food, allowing Claudius to hide in his lair all day long. This prevented others from noticing his presence. Without the power to protect himself, Claudius thought that chilling in his underground lair all day long was a fine idea.
’’May the gods bless me with plentiful harvest and fill my food storage with mice! It's a pity that mice won't even come anywhere near me due to my dragon aura though . . .’’ (TL note: this is a reference to another CN novel. The plentiful harvest part is self explanatory, while the mice part means that the harvest was so good that mice would swarm to the food storages for the overwhelming amount of food available.)
While Claudius looked at the fermentation log covered with mushrooms of various sizes in a joyous mood, he also felt grateful that his 'Earthly' techniques were of use. Crimson dragons were carnivores, but with his life on the line, feeding on mushrooms was actually not so bad. The mushrooms had a light taste that resembled meat. Claudius also went out to hunt from time to time, so it was not like he merely had fungi for his meals.
The massive pit he previously dug became a pond, and fish were present in the artificial pond. Animals would often appear to drink water, and predators could be seen lurking in the shadows nearby. Claudius made sure that he did not hunt near his lair, as there was a risk of attracting unwanted attention, especially those who could easily kill him. At his young age, it was still too early for Claudius to enslave gnomes or goblins.
’’Gnomes taste like crap anyways . . .’’ Claudius thought to himself.
There were a lot of wild gnomes in this region, and he had seen a handful of them near his lair before. These yellowish green creatures had a pungent smell, and Claudius simply had no appetite whenever he tried to eat one of them. Although they often roamed the forests in groups, it was troublesome to catch them. The gnomes would scatter the moment they felt frightened, and even if they were caught, they had no discipline at all. It was a pain to manage them. Claudius once caught six gnomes on a whim, and it was not fun at all. Normally, he would not consider doing such a dangerous act. Claudius was a powerless dragon toddler, and it sounded like a joke for him to gather useless underlings. He might even have to pay for the gnomes' mistakes, which was definitely undesirable. The desire to enslave creatures was rather understandable though, considering the fact that Crimson dragons often enslaved other monsters. Well, Claudius was going through his knowledge obtained from the Inheritance Ceremony at that time and understood that Crimson Dragons always enslaved creatures like gnomes, goblins, orcs and maneaters. They used them as disposable pawns. It couldn't be helped if he felt the urge to try enslaving a few gnomes after knowing this.
Claudius admitted his failure;it was utter defeat. He could not even properly control six gnomes. They could not understand any of the languages which Claudius spoke. Thus, Claudius could not command them, even though he was the boss. Claudius learned how to speak the Dragon language, the Common language, the Spirit language, and the Orc language from the Inheritance Ceremony. It was only made possible with his high Intelligence of 12. Even if he was such a genius, Claudius was still unable to control the gnomes. The Gnome language was slightly related to the Orc language, but all Claudius heard were incomprehensible screams and shouts. He was no master of language after all. In the end, Claudius killed the gnomes out of despair. There was also a chance that these retards would spread information regarding his lair, so their deaths were justified in his mind.
Another thing which troubled Claudius was his so-called cheat. The attribute screen could show the attribute stats of a being, but that was it. Claudius could not edit nor allocate points to his attributes, and he recently lost the ability to look at the stats of his enemies or prey, which was previously possible. This so-called cheat did not give him the choice to decide when to level up, nor was he able to choose attribute modifiers to strengthen himself. In other words, this was the attribute screen of the old-school RPG games;those games which only gave the player information about himself and did not allow stat points to be distributed freely.
’’If I can't allocate my attribute points, then why was this even given to me in the first place! Having cheats was the benefit of being a transported, yet all I can do with my cheat is looking at my attributes and a photo of myself. What the hell is this garbage cheat supposed to be!’’ Claudius propped his chin onto his claws while mentally swearing.
Looking at Claudius, he somewhat resembled a Cerulean dragon. His short neck and strangely shaped head was similar to that of Cerulean dragons, but Claudius was not aware of it himself. Claudius had never seen a cerulean dragon before, and there weren't a lot of pictures of cerulean dragons in the knowledge transferred to him from the Inheritance Ceremony as well.
Fortunately, a dragon's growth process included extended periods of sleep. Thus, Claudius did not feel bored at all. He could sleep as much as he wanted to, and it would even save him some food as dragons do not feel hungry in their sleep.
The growth cycle of mushrooms in this world was even more astonishing than that of Earth. It was at the point that it could be considered unreal. As long as he continued to add bits of woods along with burnt branches to the fermentation log while maintaining the humidity in the room, mushrooms would grow vigorously with the aid of heat produced through fermentation. The walls of the room were unexpectedly fully covered by the rubbery mushrooms as well. The effectiveness of the mushroom cultivation techniques from Earth were way out of Claudius' expectations.
Claudius felt full after consuming large amounts of plant based protein, but he still preferred meat over mushrooms. Though in terms of safety, consuming plants was the better choice among the two. After satisfying his appetite, Claudius would often enter a period of deep sleep. From his internal biological clock, Claudius could tell that the deep sleep sessions each lasted for one month. He would then be active for around ten days before falling asleep once again. This actually protected Claudius from danger as well, as his active days were reduced by a large amount. Crimson dragon whelps generally lived together and would hide together during their growth period, unlike Claudius and Britannia who lived separately. Speaking of which, Claudius could confirm that his little sister was still alive through their blood connection.
Time flies, and three years passed in the blink of an eye. Claudius expanded his lair by further excavating the hill. Currently, the 20 metres high and 100 metres wide hill was almost emptied by the Crimson dragon. Five metres underneath the surface of the hill was hardened soil roasted by his flames. The exit remained near the pond, but it had been enlarged to a ten-metre-wide tunnel. Claudius's body also experienced some changes. He was now almost seven metres long. He was now larger than most dragon toddlers. Claudius pretty much did not leave his lair for three years. Thus, he only gained a little experience points. Thanks to the special trait of dragons, experience would be automatically gained as time passed. Claudius's attributes were now 22 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 25 Constitution, 14 Intelligence, 13 Wisdom, and 12 Charisma. He could be considered as a relatively tough character. With skill modifiers such as 'Proficient in Grappling' and 'Smooth Strike', he could now easily defeat a dire wolf in a head on fight.
’’I have finally made the first step on the path to awesomeness!’’