Throne Of Magical Arcana Chapter 378
A grim and dark-looking castle stood by the lake covered with black duckweed. Its pinnacles on the top resembled the javelins in the style of the ancient magic empire.
Harold Hammer, carrying a heavy bag of ore on his back, was walking slowly toward the castle’s warehouse. As an underage dwarf, he was not as strong as the muscular fully-grown dwarves who could easily wield a huge heavy hammer like a toy. The bag of ore was really heavy for him.
However, Harold had no complaints about hard labor since at least he could still survive. Those strong dwarves were selected out to become the food of the vampire masters.
This castle belonged to the Great Kindred Count whose name was Vlad Cecil. The surrounding more than a hundred dwarf villages were under his control. The vampires chose “the pure blood and flesh” from among them for food, and drove the rest of the dwarves as their slaves to do the hard labor in the mines and castle. Day and night, the slave dwarves had to mine the special metal called needham gold from the plateau as well as caramoiron and mythrilfor the vampire master.
It seemed that the dwarves’ destiny was doomed as soon as they were born. They either ended up as food for the vampires or died early from the intense laboring. The only sweet moment was when they found their beloved partner and had their offspring.
Though Harold had never left this village under the control of the castle, he heard that the dwarves living in the north were also suffering just like them. All the dwarves on the highland were in great pain, living like domestic animals.
Harold looked up at the night sky and the bright constellations over the highland. He was at a loss and depressed, wondering if his life was just going to be like this without any hope and if the past glory of dwarves could never come back again.
A sharp pain came from Harold’s face as the thick whip left a deep and bloody wound on its left side. The wound stretched across the dwarves’ distinctive big nose to the right.
There came the evil voice, and the shadow of the whip was in front of Harold.
Yes, some dwarves still had a third choice. They could choose to turn their backs on their ancestors and act like a well-trained dog to the vampires to become their blood servants, who were responsible for torturing their own brothers and sisters.
The elegant, privileged vampire counts would not watch the miners working in the dirty mines themselves, and thus they needed some servants. Every embrace would cost them the original blood power and the weaker vampires would be drained off if giving embrace for too many times. Therefore, even the powerful vampires were not willing to have many children.
That was why the number of vampires was never big. Most of their servants were just the blood servants whose blood was drained up by the vampires but did not die. They were simply puppets of the vampires.
The servants were as strong as knights, but their power could not be further improved any more. Their life-span was only of one-tenth of their master’s lifetime, and they could never, and would never launch a rebellion.
Harold glanced at the dwarf dressing in fine clothes and holding the whip, and then he looked down and responded in low voice, “Yes, Butler Wells.”
Countless dwarves died because of this abominable traitor. Although Wells was only a supervisor, he preferred to be called a butler. When the real vampire butler, Galata, showed up, Wells would kneel on the ground to kiss Galata’s shoe.
The red-haired Wells had removed all of his beard because his master, Vlad, hated it very much, and thus his bumpy skin was revealed. Seeing Harold’s good-looking dark brown beard, Wells was quite pissed. Lifting his right hand, he whipped Harold again.
“What were you thinking? Dwarves don’t need to think! You hear me? You filthy dirty bastard!”
It seemed that Wells had forgotten the fact that he was also a dwarf, instead, he regarded himself as a decent servant for the noble kindred.
“Yes, Butler Wells.” Harold gripped the bag loaded with the ores even tighter.
“Get out of my sight. Move!” Wells scolded.
After taking a few steps, Harold heard that Wells’s voice had become disgustingly sweet, “Good afternoon, Madam Tess, Sir Galata! This way, please It’s dirty over there. Those filthy dwarves should not be seen”
Without looking back, Harold could easily imagine Wells’ flattering manner, and how well-dressed the tall vampire butler Galata was. Galata always dressed in a fancy black suit decorated with a neat bow tie.
Madam Tess must be the same charming and beautiful. She had the shining blond hair and proportioned figure. Her jade-colored eyes never changed after she was turned into a vampire by the embrace from Count Vlad.
Harold’s heart twitched when thinking of Madam Tess. She was the most beautiful female dwarf who was famous in the surrounding many villages, and she was also once the dream girl for Harold. However, she was picked by the count and then became his vampire bride.
The cool wind from the highland reminded Harold what he should do. Harold lowered his head and moved forward slowly bearing the ore bag. He heard the commands from behind.
“Hurry up with the smelting. Be careful. Some dwarves who have managed to escape have formed a rebellion force.”
When the evening arrived, Harold finally finished the hard labor and could take a rest. After getting the foodtwo black bread sticks, Harold was ready to go back to his place in the nearby village.
As he walked, he looked around and suddenly behaved very cautiously. When making sure it was safe, Harold became excited and quickly took a quiet path in the darkness.
After more than ten minutes, Harold had gone through a few thin groves. A common-looking huge stone appeared in front of Harold. Carefully checking around again, Harold cautiously walked to the other side of the huge stone and gently knocked at it.
“Steam above,” whispered Harold in very low voice using the dwarf language. Although it sounded like a spell, there was no spiritual power involved.
The huge stone suddenly split like an opening gate. A dwarf popped out. After looking around, he hurriedly said, “Come in, Harold.”
Harold went into the gap swiftly. After the dwarf locked the stone gate from inside, Harold gave him a breadstick and said, “Uncle Warren, I should go down there now.”
“Go, my child. The Elder is waiting for you,” said Warren.
Warren took a bit bite at the bread and swallowed it down with water as if he had starved for a long time.
Harold knew that the lack of food was always a big problem for the rebellion force. He chewed the black bread and gulped the water that he carried with him when walking downward. He was deeply impressed by the underground palace built by the dwarf ancestors.
He wondered why their powerful ancestors were defeated by the vampires. Had all the gods decided to abandon them?
The wall paintings along either side of the passage were magnificent: There were airboats in the sky, steamboats in the ocean, powerful cannons aiming at the dragons, and running steam trains on the plain Although it was not Harold’s first time seeing the paintings, he was just as excited as before. He loved listening to the glorious stories told by the Elder, Augustus Heartbroken. When he thought of the honor and glory that once belonged to their ancestor’s civilization, Harold’s heart was filled with hope.
At the end of the passage, there was a big hall, accompanied by two rows of small rooms on both sides. The roar of steam kept coming out, and a sturdy dwarf was driving the steam hammer to forge weapons.
“Hey, Harold.” A dwarf with long white beard nodded slightly. When the dwarf saw what Harold was looking at, he sighed, “Our civilization has been lost. We cannot duplicate the complex steam engines, cannons, and rifles anymore. We can only try our best to make the sharper swords and axes. Although they are enough for killing the blood servants, the swords and axes cannot hurt the vampires.”
The way the elder dwarf talked was rather gloomy and dismal.
The several dwarves dressing simply tried to cut in when the elder dwarf was speaking. They were of a higher rank in the rebellion force and did not want this desperation to spread out.
Augustus put on a peaceful smile and said, “Myrna, Aquinas We have to let them know what we are facing. Yes, there is no hope. But shall we have our knees on the ground for the rest of our life, or shall we fight and bleed to safeguard our ancestors’ glory and die like real dwarves This is our own choice.”
“Steam above!” The dwarves in the small rooms burst out the roaring. They were going to die anyway, and they wished to die as a warrior.
Sharing the food, Augustus asked Harold what was going on in the castle. The reason why they decided to hide on Count Vlad’s territory was that they heard Count Vlad was injured when he was on the battlefield and thus he needed to sleep from time to time to heal himself.
“Madam Tess has sent out the blood servants to find you” said Harold. As a worker, he did not know much. Then Harold looked at Augustus, and his eyes were shining with hope, “Can I know more about the ancient steam civilization?”
The good-looking, young female dwarf whose name was Myrna was also looking forward to the stories. The stories were like the warm sunlight that could give hope to everyone in the rebellion force.
“ We dwarves once ruled the boundless land. We had magnificent cities at the ports of the boundless ocean and along the Nigreen River At that time, the erected iron chimneys were like tall forests, and the smoke coming out from them could cover the sky”
“There were steam trains traveling between the cities. From here to the north, it would only take you a few hours. Every one of the dwarves could get enough food and have access to all kinds of mechanic inventions. We had the steam elevators that could directly lift one to the top floor of the building, and we always had hot water because of the steam boilers”
“ The brave dwarf warriors were expanding our territory equipped with high-pressure steam bags, mechanic arms, and steam rifles. Our steamboats were sailing in the oceans. Our great cannons made the enemies bend their back”
Although the dwarves did not even know what sunlight was, they were still listening to the stories with great interest. The stories could show them paradise. They listened to the stories while staring at the frescos. They could see the cities flourishing with the steam civilization.
Harold tightened his fists. He swore in his mind that one day he would rebuild the dwarf cities.
When telling the stories, Augustus’ face was written with pride and hope.
“Alright This is all for today. It’s time for us to worship the God of Steam, the master of life and death.” Augustus stood up and walked to the center of the hall, where there was a strange-looking altar.
“Does it work?” The young dwarf, Myrna, asked a bit confusedly.
Augustus cast her a stern look and said, “When we found this place, we found the rite left by our ancestors. They were that powerful and smart, and I am sure that they would not waste their time on things that were useless. Maybe our ancestors were abandoned because they were not showing enough respect to the God of Steam. We should be very pious, so we can win the mercy of the God of Steam again.”
The dwarves all nodded. In this desperate situation, they were not going to let go of any hope.
Therefore, all the dwarves gathered at the front of the altar. Following the Elder, they started to dance in a strange way.
“The almighty God of Steam! Your devout followers and servants are praying.”
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