The Crimson Dragon - Chapter 6
In this region, the Cardinal's squad was actually considered a decent combat force;the level 10 classed sharkmen Warriors had inhuman attributes, with each attribute having a minimum of 16, while Strength was at the stunning level of 20. Each of them had at least 6 feats as well.........if Claudius' cheat attribute screen worked normally, these would be the stats of the sharkmen. Yet in fact, the numbers could only be served as a reference. (ED: Feats are talents or areas of specialization. Another DnD reference.)
Although the Level 4 sharkmen mage was a noob who could only cast Level 2 water magic, the Level 12 Cardinal was not to be taken lightly;'Group Strengthening' divine magic, 'Single Target Healing' divine magic, 'Dispersal' divine magic, as well as 'Damage' divine magic granted by the goddess Anbo. All of the mentioned magic could be utilized by the powerful Cardinal.
Furthermore, the assault squad also received blessings from the goddess, granting them the ability to move freely on land and enhancing their physique. Apart from strengthening their senses, they also had more precise control over their bodies, as well as immunity against a normal dragon aura. This assault squad was the best of the best within the sharkmen tribe, so the Cardinal thought that catching a little dragon whelp wouldn't be too difficult. The only troublesome thing was to find out the exact location of the dragon whelp, capture it and return to the ocean within 24 hours.
As if sensing something approaching, Claudius awoke after having merely a few days of sleep.
’’Huh? My whole body is aching like hell! Did my muscles and joints get swollen during my sleep? Eh? My body is now larger?’’
As a side effect of rapid growth, his muscles, bones, tendons...... everything became swollen and painful. The full and round stomach he had before sleeping could no longer be seen as well. Claudius looked at his skinny body;his ribcage was pressing against his bare skin from the inside, as if there were no fat in between at all. Claudius' stomach grumbled as loud as thunder, and hunger instantly took control of his mind.
’’Meat, I need meat! I need a mountain of meat right now!’’
Claudius, who was on the brink of starving to death, could not afford to fly towards the ocean for seafood. There was no choice but to take the risk and hunt for food in the mountains in broad daylight. He was starving so much that he would probably eat anything edible without regarding its taste. However, his enlarged body could no longer pass through the original entrance to the platform. Claudius desperately smashed the igneous rocks and dug a large hole. After crawling out of the cave rigidly, he looked at the large mess he left behind. This meant that the cave had finished its job and could no longer be used. The crimson dragon toddler flapped his wings a few times, and with a strong leap, he soared through the skies.
’’It seems like the muscles on a dragon's wings and thighs are extremely strong. Only tiny birds can take off with a leap, larger birds all need a run up before flying,’’ Claudius exclaimed.
Meat was the most important thing on his mind right now. In the dense forests of the Fire Dragon Bay peninsula, not only were there all sorts of beasts, but also various relics and ancient ruins. Though for Claudius, the only beasts he could hunt were probably boars or goats. As powerful beasts resided here, a mere dragon toddler, be it normal ones or special ones like Claudius, wouldn't stand a chance against them. It was also doubtful that a dragon toddler would be able to have an edge over the underlings of these frantic beasts. As Claudius understood that his lifespan could reach thousands of years, he honestly didn't want to seek his own doom right now. With his dragon senses, Claudius could also sense traces of a Jade Dragon. Despite both species being part of the Five Coloured Evil Dragons, the two species were definitely not friendly with one another.
The crimson scales were still a severe issue for Claudius though. With sparkling scales, the so-called hunting session ended up with him circling in the air only to find nothing. Even back on Earth, both present and in the past, skilful hunters utilized the terrain for cover and silently approached their prey, delivering the killing blow with a sneak attack. Claudius also wanted to adopt such tactics, but his sparkling scales ruined his plans. If he was discovered by the prey at a long distance, he lacked the strength and dexterity to launch a successful attack and kill it with a single blow. While Claudius could fly long distances with ease, short dashes were simply not the type of flight suited for dragons.
As Claudius was getting cornered by his hunger, he thought up a method to increase his chances using knowledge from Earth. Despite the risk of being attacked by flying beasts, he decided to climb up to a high altitude and hide himself within the lower layer of clouds. After confirming his target, Claudius would dash straight down at a high speed with the help of gravity. This was a test of both luck and skill, as he might end up as minced meat along with his prey if he couldn't decelerate in time.
Due to the nature of this method, it was easier to catch a large target. Claudius was lucky to find a large bison not far away, which he designated as his prey without hesitation. This bison could reach almost two meters when standing on its hind legs, with a pair of horns individually thicker than an adult human thigh. It would not be an exaggeration to call this creature monstrous. The bison was no weaker than Claudius in terms of strength, and the dragon toddler undoubtedly could not handle such a monstrous creature when fighting head on. With the help of the laws of physics, Claudius accelerated to a high velocity by dropping down from a high height, converting potential energy into kinetic energy. While Claudius did slow down his own speed to prevent uncontrolled landing, the high velocity impact still managed to break the spine of the bison. Claudius also suffered immense pain due to the action and reaction force of the impact, but it was way better than the condition of the bison. This was the difference between hunters and the hunted.
The bison was paralyzed, and so Claudius grabbed the corpse of it with his front legs while ignoring the pain of his hind legs. Holding the neck of the bison, he delivered his first bite into its soft throat. While the bison was living its final moments, Claudius was already devouring the stomach of it. He couldn't care less about the blood flowing from the neck of his prey. If the bison was injured but still alive, the bison horde nearby would fight to the death with the hunter. Yet the moment the bison seemed to be killed, the horde lost their will to fight and deserted the battlefield, leaving behind their dead comrade.
It was absolutely terrifying to look at a hungry crimson dragon munching its prey, and it was more so in Claudius' case;He had a wider mouth than normal crimson dragons, and he paid no mind to the 'inedible parts' of the corpse. Tearing fractured bones and muscles with his mouth, Claudius didn't bother chewing the parts before sending them into his stomach. As if his stomach was a black hole, over half of the one-tonne bison was consumed within merely 30 minutes. Even so, Claudius had no choice but to give up on the rest;the smell of blood had attracted other predators, ones that he couldn't afford to fight with.
While Claudius was enjoying his meal, the Cardinal was travelling across the land with difficulty. Even with the blessing from the Goddess, the body structure of sharkmen was simply not suited for travelling long distances on land. The instructions from the goddess were also unclear, as the location was only estimated with an error of 5 kilometers;the only description available was 'a short volcano is visible there'. In fact, their efforts would be in vain even if they managed to discover the place, as Claudius has already left his lair......