The dunlord moved in toward the cave.
But when they were at the mouth of the cave Stinger stopped moving
"Lord, I can go no farther."
Dave felt the dunlord shaking.
'Even just the lair itself terrifies the dunlords.'
"Wait for me here then. Be ready to flee if the dragon approaches."
Dave jumped from Stinger's back and rushed into the tunnel.
But tunnel did not convey the right idea, it was like walking across an airplane hanger. His apartment building would have fit comfortably within it.
He kept running, descending deeper, the tunnel grew cold and finally he saw a gleam ahead. It was the butter yellow color of gold, he'd finally reached the dragon's lair..
The floor of the lair was hidden by the dragon's collection. Piles of weapons and armor, enough to equip a small army; tons of gold, literally; mounds of gold coins and gems, overflowing from chests; with drifts of precious objects against the cave walls.
Dave stood there for a moment, unable to do anything but move his head to take in the contents of the vast cavern.
Ecstatic, he gasped out words, "Dragon's treasure!"
He finally moved, his eyes feverish with greed. He started filling his hands with gold and 'looting' everything into his bag.
But after only a few moments he realized that as soon as he added the gold coins to his inventory, they all changed to bronze coin.
"Damn, is isn't even worth the effort."
He stopped gathering the faux-gold coins. It would take him ages to gather all the gold in the room, and it would only add up to a few hundred gold coins.
Then Dave picked up an imposing looking spear that was intricately filigreed.
A spear not even worth pricking the teeth of a dragon.
Can be sold or used as decoration.
"Heck it's like the anti-midas touch, everything I touch turns to trash..." But he still pocketed the item.
He picked up more items.
Finally he had to accept it. All the weapons and armor spread across the room were all broken or could only be used as decoration.
"A treasure in name only," he commented on the stinginess of the game, and the deception of dragons.
He became more and more annoyed, and felt more pressed for time. The dragon could return any moment and he didn't have a single item of true value.
Just when he was about to give up and leave, he caught sight of something that stood out from the rest of the 'treasure.'
It lay alone atop a virtual hill of gold. It looked like a round stone, black as the depths of the abyss.
Dave's heart throbbed for a moment.
He moved slowly, not daring to fully believe what he had within reach. The closer he got to it the more the rock didn't look like a rock.
It was covered with black scales, and when he touched it:
Abyssal Dragon Egg
Dave's hands trembled as he put the egg in his inventory.
The roar of the dragon echoed in the distance, signaling its imminent arrival.
He rushed out of the cave, his heart racing so fast he thought it would burst out of his chest.
His Undead were still waiting for him at the mouth of the cave. Dave shouted at the dunlords to run into the forest.
Jumping onto Stinger's back he ordered the scorpion-man to move as fast as he could.
Stinger moved instantly, accelerating away from the cave entrance and into the forest.
Dave watched what happened behind them as best he could.
The shadow of the Abyssal Dragon soon flew into view and then out of sight, shortly he heard it land in the clearing with earth shaking thumps and crushing rock sounds.
Moments later, Dave could hear the loud howls and wailing of the dragon behind him.
"It's pissed! Egg raiders for the win! HA!" he laughed like a maniac.
Pets weren't rare in Conquest, but most of them were decorative.
He had an egg that would hatch a fighting pet! A DRAGON!
In a white room, somewhere in notional space, in what would be called 'backstage' if Conquest were a movie or television set, a virtual entity labored at a workstation. Grunting in satisfaction the entity leaned back, task done.
It went against his nature, converting so much of the game reality, but his prime motivation, the balance of the game took precedence over violating the laws of continuity and noninterference. Required it!
It was no small task converting so many influential objects with long histories, a strong belongingness, in Conquest. But it was for the greater good. That infernal point of disruption could not be allowed to accumulate more influence, more power. His only regret was that he could not do anything about the most potentially powerful object, the egg. But by the time it became relevant the overall issue should be, WOULD BE, resolved. And things would go back to normal.
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