Chapter 18 - Personal Improvement Plan - Step 1: Summary of Discussion

Elric appeared in the teleportation room at Mortis Operandi. He turned and thanked Guldag. When he turned towards the door, he saw a goblin bolt down the hallway. Not thinking anything of it, Elric headed to his room.

While Elric didn’t lock his door, it being slightly ajar worried him. Gathering up some power just in case, he opened the door. Sitting on his bed inside was Eft.

“The boss wants to talk to you.” Eft said as he stood up. “As soon as you got back.”

“Alright when do we go?” Elric said.

“You, he wants to talk to you alone.” Eft said. He reached up and patted Elric on the shoulder as he walked by. The old goblin stopped and turned around. “You smell like alcohol. Are you sober?”

“Yeah,” Elric said but was still a little buzzed. Eft appeared to be not convinced. “I’m fine, a little buzzed but I’ll be ok.”

“Here this will help you sober up some,” Eft said as he reached into a pocket and pulled out a vial much bigger than the pocket looked. He handed it to Elric. “Currently you are my favorite human here and I hate learning new names.”

“I’m the only human currently employed.” Elric said as he removed the cork stopper from the vial. The blue liquid seemed to swirl around inside of it. He drank the whole thing quickly as most potions were not made with taste as a consideration. The blue liquid felt icy and cool on his tongue, and a chill overcame him. He shivered and felt just a little bit colder than previously.

“Good luck,” Eft said before he turned around and stepped out of the room.

The goblin’s words troubled Elric a little. He had only met with Ventus by himself once, er twice, though he hadn’t known at the time the half elf who was offering him a job was a dragon. Elric was able to keep his composure long enough to step into the room and close the door. Briefly he considered running, but doubted anyone would teleport him. Not even his growing friendship with Guldag would cause the goblin to risk the wrath of Ventus.

As soon as Elric arrived at the massive entrance, the guards standing their vigil. One of the doors was opened a crack and Francis waited for him. Sensing he didn’t need to kneel, Elric walked towards the demon. When Elric was twenty feet away, Francis beckoned through the door. Elric stepped in first, the bright light in the room briefly blinding him. On autopilot, he kept walking forward a little to make room for Francis.

The door shut with a loud thump. His eyes adjusted, Elric turned to look at Francis to find out which way to go, but the man with horns and cloven feet was not there. Suddenly fearful, Elric summoned power to cast a spell of protection.

WHUMP! Elric was thrown into the door before he could cast a spell. A massive red dragon had appeared in front of him. The swipe of it’s hand had thrown Elric twenty feet into the door, stars appeared in his vision. The open maw of the dragon rushed towards him as Elric struggled to stand up.

“Please no,” Elric said as he threw his hands up to protect his face.

The dragon huffed and a cloud of hot steam enveloped Elric but did not burn. The face moved back twenty feet and it’s eyes closed.

“1, 2, 3, 4…” the dragon counted quietly.

The doors were still closed behind Elric and he didn’t see anyone else in the lair. Briefly his mind asked where was Ventus, but the facial features of the dragon seemed familiar. The voice was also the same, but a little deeper.

“I’m not sure what I did, but I’m sure I can fix it.” Elric said softly. The dragon continued counting and when it was done the eyes opened.

“I’m truly sorry, I let my anger define me.” Ventus said in a calm voice that seemed forced. “There was no way you could have known,” the dragon continued. The head turned away from Elric and it roared.

The flames that came out with the roar increased the head in the room. Elric felt something heavy thump against the stone near him. A weight slowly settled down on his chest, pushing him into the corner of the floor and door. The weight stopped before it crushed the man. Several moments passed before Elric removed his hands from his face.

Ventus’s front claw was surrounding him. The sharp talons piercing the door and floor. It’s head a few feet away looking at him. A thin tongue lightly flicked across the fangs sticking out of the dragons mouth.

“Please tell me why you started a new religion.” Ventus asked, his hot breath almost suffocating Elric.

“I heard about his ability.” Elric started, “When his name is spoken, I thought it would make it useless if everyone said his name.”

“Funny, you thought it would be funny to start people worshiping someone.” As the dragon spoke, it’s breath was like air from a furnace blasting into Elric’s face.

“It wasn’t meant to be worship,” Elric choked out, coughing a few times as any moisture in him felt sucked out.

“You forgot several constants in this world.” Ventus said then he turned his head away from Elric. Fire rushed forth as the dragon bellowed in anger. Elric had to turn his head away from the bright inferno.

Ventus looked back at Elric and the dragon’s brow furrowed. The massive muscles tightened and Elric briefly wondered if he was going to die now.

“I’m talking about the fact that, people are stupid and everybody poops.” Ventus said with a sigh.

“It won’t be tracked to us,” Elric said as he mentally readied to summon power to block another attack. Also his mind raced as the dragons actions seemed a little excessive. “I believe I may be missing some information.” Elric stopped preparing for another attack, even if he had weeks to prepare, he couldn’t defeat nor escape Ventus, not in the dragons lair.

A sound Elric had heard only a few time before came out of the dragon. It sounded like a roar mixed with coughing. Laughing, the dragon, involuntarily huffed a ball of fire at Elric. The man didn’t have time to dodge it, so he quickly threw his hands up to his face. Heat enveloped him and parts of his clothing turned into ash as it burned away.

Fear suddenly appeared on the laughing dragons face. Ventus’s eyes grew wide and he immediately turned his head away from his worker. Swiftly he transformed himself into the goblin form while calling out, “Francis, I need healing.”

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