Amongst the Draconian higher variants, there was a subset called the gem dragons. Emerald, sapphire, obsidian, ruby, alexandrite and other gems; just like how gold and silver had an anima breath, the gem dragons had a force breath. Unlike the metallics, where the breath was simply a release of pure element, the gem dragons each had their own unique ‘breath attack’. For emeralds it was ‘Collect’, an inward force that drew everything to its user. For sapphires it was ‘Wall’, a wide, impenetrable force field. And rubies had the effect ‘Crush’, a downward force that pinned things to the ground and flattened them.
While the effects had less versatility then other elements, and they could be replicated with magic, the benefit was that the effects were stronger and required less mana then their equivalent spell. The efficiency of breath attacks was what made them so powerful and the reason the higher variants were called so was because they each possessed two elements instead of one. That being the case, a Draconian like Daniel, who could use four elements, had the kind of power needed to start his own den. Another point that made the higher variants powerful was their racial skills ‘Draconic Command’.
‘Draconic Command’ was as strange subject to understand. It wasn’t a magical compulsion, as it didn’t require any mana to use, and yet it those affected by it would behave as though it were. In its simplest form, it allowed its user to command a lesser variant of a similar variation. The more powerful the user, the less similar the variations had to be and the harder it was to resist. At the time he hadn’t realized it, but the power May had used on him to force him to take Loralei with him was ‘Draconic Command’. When he looked through the tower skills list he found a related skill, that was considered a legend amongst Draconian, ‘Draconic Command [King]’. It would cost him 500tp, but its possessor could command any Draconian or Dragon to do anything. It worried him that a skill like that even existed, but if there was a Draconian out there who reached level 25, most people would obey them anyway.
With Daniel’s variants both being boosted, he both ‘Draconic Command (Gold)’ and ‘Draconic Command (Ruby)’. Although they were both only level one, once they improved to max, the effect would be similar to that of ‘king’. It would be altogether possible for him to command armies by the time he reached his patriarch stage. Though as it was, it would probably only make him seem slightly more charismatic to lesser variants. On a related note, although pink was a powerful variant, it was still a lesser variant.
That was a pressing issue for him, as it turned out. He apparently was only able to free his arm because Leah let him. Even if his level was higher, her class and variant was devoted to strength, and she had him completely outmatched. The strength difference was to the point that even straining everything he had, he could at best free one more arm. That was, when not taking into account technique. Although neither of them had an unarmed skill, Leah was noticeably better at grappling, and showed no sign of letting go.
“If you want to free your arms,” her seductive deep voice began, “then all you have to do is hold me with them.”
Putting aside the illogic of how she expected him to do that before releasing his arms, it was clear that she wasn’t going to start thinking clearly any time soon. In fact, her mood seemed to be infectious, as Daniel felt himself start to lose his own rationality. She was incredibly strong; her tone arms were muscular, but in no way unattractive. The clear desire in her eyes and the certain focus that she could take what she wanted filled his sight. Sweat made her scales glisten and the smell sent his heart racing.
As Leah pressed him against the sand and their bodies sank slightly into the warm earth, she stripped their pants off using her wings in a display of surprising finesse. With the fabric out of the way, she rubbed her moist slit against him, pressing down against him with redoubled force. With her beautiful body in full view, his dick stood vertical and pressed against her soft skin. As they lost themselves to their urges and filled each other with hot passion they lost track of everything around them.
When the moment had passed, and they lay exhausted beside each other, coated in fluids and sand, their minds started to clear. Daniel had let out several loads inside her and from the resulting arousal Leah had released a clutch of three eggs. Draconian eggs were strange from a biological sense; they were both leathery and gel-like, about the size of a loose hand. The squishy leathery ‘shell’ wasn’t technically a part of the egg, as the actual egg portion was within it, and the ‘shell’ was hard to define at a cellular level. It acted like a secondary, external womb and the cells that composed it contained chemicals that acted like chlorophyll while still being animal cells and were insoluble to any liquids that didn’t contain enzymes found in semen. The result was that the ‘shell’ could be fertilised both inside a female Draconian and externally and generated energy for the foetus through a process of magic combined with photosynthesis called photo-pranasynthesis.
By looking at the flow of prana into slimy green structures of the three eggs it could be easily seen that they were each fertilised. Unlike human pregnancies, Draconian fertilisation happened within the space of a few minutes, though the stillborn rate was much higher. The eggs would require a reasonably consistent supply of sunlight and prana, but too much of ether would be damaging to the unborn. As such, large spells couldn’t be used near them, as once the prana from an area was used nearby prana would fill the area, hitting the eggs like a wave. Because it was counterproductive to successful childbirth, but Draconian women would also take the eggs with them to combat. From their perspective as a race that could live for centuries, it was better that the weak eggs get weeded out. It was an objectively cruel practice, but the result was a race with very few recorded birth defects.
By that point, the day had almost past with the time being sometime in the four to five pm region. As the sun was setting early at that time of year, they wouldn’t have much light left in the day and none of their group was in prime shape. It was at that point, while Daniel was considering setting up camp, that he remembered Loralei. Looking around, he found her collapsed, panting nearby. At first he started to panic, but that subsided when he realized what had happened. She had also become aroused by the experience but instead watched him be possessed by Leah and engaged in some solo-play. Seeing that she was alright, he instead moved the eggs to a warm safe place near the car.
When the three of them had caught their breaths and cleaned themselves, they set up a rough camp for the night. Their new car was much larger and more comfortable than their old buggy, but still far from wide enough for the two Draconian that passed two meters in height. If not for her insistence of sleeping together with Daniel, Loralei could have slept comfortably on the wide back seats. Instead, they rolled out and pinned up the plastic tarp tent, threw down a thick blanket and prepared a fire on a lump of building rouble.
With the bedding sorted, Daniel thought that it would be best to understand his new rifle before he needed to start using it. The ‘M77 of the Gem Dragon’ was a pre-fall M77 sniper rifle with a reasonably large scope and a good performance record. The only real differences between it and a normal M77 was that it was etched with elaborate depictions of dragons throughout the stock and barrel, and that there was a red gem where the box should have been. Seeing that gem he recognised what the weapon was, he had seen a similar modification on a weapon used by his mother. It was a mana-bolt rifle.
Simply put, the box shaped crystal stored mana in it and when he pulled the trigger a portion would be siphoned and converted into a solid mass. They were incredibly uneconomical weapons when compared to the price of normal bullets, but they had the benefit of producing rounds anywhere without having to carry the weight of a manufacturing set. In the case of his mother’s gun, if mana was fed to it calmly and carefully, then one bullet would cost ten mana points. Someone without the tower system would only be able to store one shot without having to wait for their mana to restore, making it an impractical weapon at best. Daniel, however, had no such problem. With the levels he gained by defeating the Queen Leach, his new capacity was six hundred and fifty units. He could easily fill it with three score rounds, though he would avoid doing so near the eggs, since rapidly moving that much mana would make waves in the prana.
To test it out, he filled it with three shots and waited to see if it would drain over time. When he checked it an hour later, having had dinner with his mates, he found that the charges had dropped by one. It was just like his mother’s prized pistol, it lost a charge every hour, making it useless as a battery. None the less, he knew his mother used to poor her left over energy into her gun before going to sleep. Since her gun had a maximum charge of twenty shoots, it would still be usable when she woke up. After moving some distance away from the camp, he tried to find the box’s charge limit. It was shit. Ten shots; by the time he woke up and sun-baked it would be dead again. To make matters worse, even being as careful as he could be the box still drained thirty mana points for each round. Nearly half his supplies to charge a weapon that would be flat by morning; fucking worthless.
Just to see if it was even slightly worth the cost, he looked around for something to test it on and found a pair of Armoured Crocodiles, four meter long carnivorous reptiles with thirty centimetre thick carapace skin, a few hundred meters away. He quickly cast a spell to ensure the weapon’s accuracy, and then lined up the shot. Conveniently, the scope was enchanted with what seemed to be life sense, and the living targets seemed like beacons or flares through the looking glass.
The gun let out a thunderous roar as he squeezed the trigger and in the distance the first croc was shattered into a cloud of blood, its body thrown back and broken. The mana cost made a lot more sense when he observed that scene. It wasn’t that the weapon was inefficient; it was simply creating enchanted explosive rounds instead of normal ones. The damage difference between the two was like heaven and earth, as the now dead animal in the distance would attest to. After quickly finishing of the second one, he flew over to the bodies, drained a total of 2cc from their mana cores, returned back to camp.
Sitting comfortably around the fire, Leah and Loralei started to explain what happened after the fight with the Dwarves. At first he was surprised by their panic, and then he understood that he hadn’t ever explained his abilities to them. After he explained to them that he had the ‘Fast Healing’ tower skill and that so long as he wasn’t killed outright he would recover from most things within a few days, so long as he was in areas with prana, they seemed to understand why he thought they took an unnecessary risk. Since Leah had decided to travel with them on a more permanent basis, they decided to spend some time revealing their abilities. When Daniel mentioned that his class had changed to ‘Calamity Killing Gunner Mage’ Leah seemed to express confusion; aside from receiving an advance class, she hadn’t heard of anyone’s class changing like that.
The next morning, they packed up their camp after sunbaking and breakfast. With the crocodile meat magically salted and set on a tray on the car’s roof to cure, their food supply was assured for a while longer, even after the travel cake were gone. With the preparations done and as they were ready to leave, Daniel walked over to the pit once more to say farewell to the tower-heart that saved them.
During the day they encountered several small and large creatures, the rain from a couple nights ago had done its job and the beasts of the wastes had multiplied considerably. It wasn’t really that much of an issue for them, since it gave Daniel something to practice his rifle on, and provided power for their gas-guzzling car. Above the rear seats was a sunroof, where the light machine gun that shot Daniel was fixed. By rotating that gun out of the way that place became very useful as a place to shoot from without having to stop the car and get out. While he was shooting, Loralei did the driving. As it turned out, Leah had never learnt to drive, and was, as such, delegated the job of fetching the crystal charge from anything killed along the way.
As the afternoon rolled in, on the third day of travelling like that, they saw a massive structure moving in the distance. As it got closer they could see that it was an oil-tanker, a 240 meter long boat that had been heavily modified to work on the sand. On either side of the ship were massive paddle like drills that appeared to pull the boat forward. Each drill was at least 200 meters long and had churning, fan-like blades that were between ten and twenty meters wide.
While it wasn’t a trade depot, it was the next best thing; an Orcish village.