Because of Ying's notification, Joshua quickly learned about the news that Mengsk was coming over.
"Strange occurrences? To what do I owe the pleasure of his visit? Isn't the North already linked to the teleportation network? He could have used his communication spell to contact me. Why would he need to come all the way here just to seek an audience with me?"
As he was muttering to himself with some doubts in his mind, the warrior then decided that he should not be bothered by such a trivial matter anymore. He stopped all the work on hand and went over to the main living hall on the ground floor of his mansion to meet that old acquaintance of his.
Upon greeting the old man, he welcomed Mengsk along with the good news that the old man brought with him over the thousands of miles.
It was a medal of commendation from the royal family.
Raising his eyebrows up a little, Joshua picked up the medal which had the emblem of the sun that represented the royal family of the Empire. He looked over at the middle-aged examiner who was sipping on the tea. He was waiting for Mengsk to explain.
"Because some of the secret operatives were involved, they cannot put up the flags and sound the drums. Hence, the royal family did not personally send their special representatives to award this honor to you."
However, it was pretty obvious that Mengsk had misunderstood Joshua's meaning. He put down the cup of tea and began explaining other matters in detail instead, "The North is too far away from the Imperial City. Furthermore, only a few of them and you know each other, I'm still considerably familiar with you. So the Emperor bestowed me the mission to give thisto you while I'm on my quest to scout and observe the Northern Empire and the lands in the North."
After that, he paused and looked admiringly at the warrior. "That's the first time I saw the group of high-ranking mages in the Royal Mage Guild showing that sort of expression. They look like a bunch of travelers who were short of water for over a week that saw an oasis right in front of them. Mister Count, what exactly did you send them?"
"I was wondering why you didn't just teleport over here. So it seems that you're doing reconnaissance What did I send you asked? I wasn't asking for that. I was asking about this medal. What is it about?"
After repeating himself and have some thoughts to himself, Joshua had also able to guess the reason. He touched his chin, and he seemed to be a little hesitant. "Could it be the mist of the Berserk Dragon? Speaking of which, I've not heard the follow-up on the creature from the Abyssal Sea. However, from the looks of it now, all the rewards are being sent over here together."
The bottle that contained the Black Mist that he discovered back in the dragon's lair was identified by the system identifier to be a highly pure Berserk Dragon Virus. Meanwhile, there was also creatures that were obviously corrupted by Chaosany living beings, not only the dragonswould go berserk and gradually be transformed into beings of Chaos.
Although the success rate of the transformation was very low, anything that goes berserk would be too dangerous to deal with Joshua also knew that he was not capable of handling that thing. So he decided to rely on Brandon's connection and send this thing over to the Royal Mage Association, allowing that group of mages that seemed to have enslaved themselves in the labs to find a way to crack it.
Joshua did not expect much out of it in the beginning. After all, he had not heard anything about a vaccine for the Berserk Dragon and that sort of stuff. However, looking at the reward he acquired, it seemed that the research was a success after all.
"The origin of the Berserk Dragon Plague? I see. Then this should explain it now."
Meanwhile, Mengsk suddenly realized, and then he began to explain that the origin of the medal in his hands to Joshua.
"The royal family of the Empire used the sun as their own insignia. Meanwhile, the medal in your hands now is called the 'Symbol of Dawn'. It is considered as the highest form of honor that the nobility can prove. It represents your enduring contributions to the entire Empire."
As they were talking about that, Mengsk even did ceremonial gesture toward the medal. He looked at Joshua emotionally and said, "Perhaps you do not know, Master Joshua. The item you sent to the Royal Mage Guild has brought great inspiration. As far as I know, they have developed potions that can make all sorts of land dragons that were used by the Draconic Caravans immune to Berserk Dragon Plague. The potions might even be able to nullify the plague instantly.
So he was right about it. They had come up with a solution to the problem. The warrior nodded slightly. That was indeed good news. With this potion that could curb the Berserk Dragon Plague, at least people no longer had to worry about their pets or livestock suddenly going berserk, especially the land dragons. In this timeline, flying airships had not yet been successfully developed. The Draconic Caravans would be the main and essential root in the trading field. If the merchants were to become paralyzed, regardless of other things, where should the people in the North get supply of food, fruits, and some other special products from other lands then?
"Now, the Empire is well-prepared for the full prevention of the Dragon's Calamity. They will not lose most of the major coastal cities like the kingdom in the distant South which were raided."
Mengsk continued, and he looked very excited. "And in the past few days, I've just met with the elves and the messengers of the royal family in the Morlaix Palace in the distant South. They seemed to be in desperate need of our potions"
When he spoke of that, the middle-aged examiner suddenly stopped talking. He shrugged and signaled that what he just said was confidential. But Joshua could already guess it before Mengsk needed to say anything further. The Empire would definitely be hammering the tree of fortune and earn a large sum of money. Or else, that Emperor would not have gladly and generously granted the warrior a medal.
So that was why he was granted with the 'Symbol of Dawn' of the highest form of glory after doing some insignificant work. The reason had been uncovered.
After that, there was nothing much to say. Mengsk said that he would also go and inspect the other three territories out of the four in the North. Meanwhile, Joshua also saw him out of the Lord's Mansion, witnessing his departure from the corner of the street.
Right before the examiner left, he did not forget to remind the warrior to join the feast that was going to be held by the royal family in early April. The feast was to mark the celebration day for the successful annihilation of the orc lairs. That day might even turn into an annual festival. Well, even the two dukes both East and West regions of the earth would be attending the celebration. In fact, all the high-ranked officers of the Empire would be going to the Imperial City for that. So it would be better for him to attend as well.
Of course, Joshua would not forget about that matter. He would surely travel over to the Imperial City once. Recently, the territory had been peaceful. Meanwhile, the old dwarf had also temporarily returned to Black Steel Town. Also, the improved version of the magic-enhanced armor had been well-designed and the design planned had been confirmed. The old dwarf was ready to produce a hundred sets of the armor for the dwarves to use first so that they could see the outcome of their hard work.
The Holy Knight Roland was also dedicated to the exploration of the Great Ias Volcano. Because of that, he had completely rid himself of the bitter feelings he had. Meanwhile, it would not be possible for Joshua to summon him back.
Without the holy knight around to spar with him, and without the old dwarf's presence to research on the technology of the magic energy, Joshua could only do nothing. Well, he was very free every day. As for the Dragon's Calamity, it would at least take about half a year more before the calamity could spread from other places in the North where the dragon's lair had been annihilated. So there was no need to think about it at all. Currently, other than attending the celebration, he also planned to have a look at the prestigious daemon auction in the Imperial City. He intended to purchase a few Gold-tier monsters so that he could complete some of the tasks for his Supreme Trial quest.
As for the 'Symbol of Dawn' Joshua was not a true aristocrat in the first place. He did not care much about this so-called glory at all. Meanwhile, looking at it from the perspective of the system, this medal would only serve as an addition to his prestige, charm and other attributes. For the warrior, because in any case, this medal would do no good at all in restoring his charm which was currently negative 20 back to a positive figure. So he only had slight interest in it. After putting some thought into it, Joshua put the medal in his collection room, placing it at the side of the Twin Serpents Ring of the Inferno and the strange piece of [Searing Steel Fragment].
After returning to the study room, Joshua continued to handle some of his official duties. Well, before that, he was looking at the intel on the Dragon's Calamity that happened in the South Kingdom. So now, he naturally continued with that.
Due to the previous life and having Clyre as his comrade, Joshua was very concerned about information about what happened in the distant South. In the previous life, although the elves had relied on the fortresses in the forest to defend themselves and they did not suffer too great deal of damage from the Dragon's Calamity, however, that would not mean they were safe already. In fact, the warrior knew that there were many small and medium-sized elven villages and towns which were attacked by Berserk Dragons. They were all slaughtered and wiped out. Right before the insane and berserk dragon species, humans and elves were not much different from each other anymore.
After determining that the elves' Windsong Tribe was in fact a large elf community, the warrior finally felt much more relieved at the moment. Then he began to turn his attention towards the message from the South Kingdom. In the previous life, he actually participated in that event. However, he was merely a bystander that could only look at the incident from another angle.
Starfall Year 833, 12th of March, the last coastal city of the Far South Kingdom, Ruhr City, was turned into flying ashes by a raging fire. The places where the dragons walked past before had not even the slightest trace of grass or flower. Countless wild beasts were being driven away by dragon's might. Dragon's might even formed into a small wave of beasts that was heading straight towards the North.
Fortunately, most of the people in the occupied areas had evacuated urgently and saved their own lives. Millions of people were able to leave their homes. They required a large amount of food, shelter and all kinds of materials. Even the rich Far South Kingdom could not bear that cost during that period of time. At the same time, a few refugee camps by the mountains of the South had begun rioting about under the instigation of certain unknown insurgents due to the shortage of supplies and food. And these riots were still spreading out throughout the area.
For a kingdom, compared to the dreadful Dragon's Calamity, the disturbance in the hearts of people would be much more dreadful.
Joshua knew that this was only the beginning.
The Dragon's Calamity in his pre-existence did not just bring war along with it. The incident itself had also completely crushed part of the common people's trust towards the higher-ups of the South Kingdom. Under the circumstance where many of the people had left their homes and disappeared vanished from the kingdom, most of the people who were experiencing a shortage in clothes and food would never seriously think about the true reason for the occurrence of the calamity and also the challenges the kingdom was facing. They would just blindly blame the higher management of the kingdom. And that had also laid the ground for subsequent divisions in the kingdom.
The news about the fall of Ruhr City had reached the imperial city of the distant South. Fortunately for them, the army of the distant South Kingdom had also been set in order. The coalition forces of the noblemen and the central authorities had departed from Paddington Fortress as they actively destroyed several groups of dragons that gathered around along the refugee camps by the mountains in the South. However, the tide of the bad situation could not be turned around. They barely managed to maintain their line of defense.
On the 13th, traces of iron-scaled dragons were found present in the Silent Forest. They were originally primitive dragons that were omnivorous and very docile, known for their hard scales. However, after they became frantic and violent, they had completely turned into killing machines. Wherever they went, the place would not have any living beings left, not even the trees. The trees would be chewed and devoured. Although they were wiped out by the elves on the following day, they had already caused a great number of losses.
On the 15th, the Southern Business Alliance had also suffered an attack from the dragons. They had never thought that the scale of the Dragon's Calamity had already spread so wide now. Hence, they had suffered great losses as well. Numerous coastal trading cities were attacked by the Oceanic Sword Drake. Hundreds of merchant ships sank on the routes that they had been sailing at countless times. Meanwhile, the emissary of the royal family from the Far South Kingdom had also come back from the North.
On the 19th, the first large-scale battle between the Allied Coalition of the Kingdom and the Dragons Group began on the Plains of Glamour. Because of the Black Rising that happened previously, the human army had rich experiences in dealing with these large beasts. They used the forts that were built on the spot and also the land dragons that already took the Anti-Berserk Dragon Potion to keep the dragons occupied. In the meantime, the coalition forces were eliminating thousands of dragons with a small sacrifice.
On the 22nd, based on several major cities in the central region of the kingdom, the Far South Kingdom established an iron-barrelled line of defense that completely separated the area which had already been occupied by the enemies from the safe areas. The war temporarily fell into a stable phase. Efforts to remove the traitors that were causing riots in the refugee camps were made immediately by the higher-ups of the kingdom.
However, it was obvious that those believers of Chaos that caused the riots to happen had already hidden well enough. Hence, they returned empty-handed. After reading all that, Joshua could not help but frown.
The whole Dragon's Calamity could be deemed as the conspiracies carried out by the believers of Chaos. They had spent so much effort over hundreds of years just to fulfill the conditions for the Evil Gods to descend upon this world. They even attempted to trigger the refugees to undermine stability on the rear of the line of defense. From the warrior's perspective, he thought that the capability of the distant Southern Kingdom to annihilate was merely powerful enough. They were too focused on the giant dragons when they were supposed to be focusing on these refugees.
Now it was already Year 833, 27th of March, the new batch of battle reports had yet to be sent over. However, history was still advancing. Now, it was not just the distant South, there had been various intensified Dragon's Calamities all over the continent. That included the Empire Kingdom in the North on the other end of the world. The only peaceful region was the land in the North where the Dragon Lair had been annihilated. Although there foul beasts that went berserk emerged from time to time, the beasts never gathered into groups to launch their assaults towards the humans.
However, this was merely the calm before the storm.
Joshua turned his head around and looked at the huge world map behind him. He focused his gaze on the South.
The war had arrived as promised.