Less than an hour later, they arrived at the western region of Dragai and at the first of the two villages. Or rather, they arrived at what was left of a village.
On the slope of a mountain was a scattered collection of ash and scorch marks. And when Lilith landed, she could see fragments of charred wood and blackened bone mixed in. There wasn't a single left human left here. There weren't any livestock, either; presumably, they'd either become food for the attacking wyverns or had scattered into the wilderness.
Lilith set down Glenn and then, just in case, cast a wide-area search spell. The only thing she detected were the demonic energy signatures of three monsters, and those seemed to be hiding in their dens out of fear of the Dragon Riders who'd recently passed by.
Lilith clenched her teeth and then shared a glance with Adam. For all of their newfound strength, they could still fail for reasons as mundane as not arriving in time.
But we can't give up yet, Lilith thought. There's still one more village, and according to the map, it's further away from the capital than this one… It depends on when the Dragon Riders left and how fast they were moving, but it's possible they haven't arrived yet.
Sunheart looked around the village and snorted. "Idiots. If they hadn't helped the rebels, then they wouldn't have been killed."
"They had good reason to do so," Adam said firmly. "You should be more aware of that than either of us."
"Even if they had a reason, it was pointless to try fighting back in any way," Sunheart said, though sounding somewhat less confident than before. "If you're on the weaker side, then that just gets you killed."
"And they already had a good chance of dying in their normal lives," Lilith pointed out. "The only other option would be to try running elsewhere, and this country isn't an easy place to travel through when you can't fly."
At that moment, Lilith muttered a brief spell to wake up Glenn. The Dragon Rider opened his eyes blearily.
"Where… Where am I…?" Glenn said, massaging his temples with his hands. "The last thing I remember, I was…"
Then Glenn looked around, taking in the devastated village and the three people nearby, two of which were monsters. He let out a shocked cry and jumped to his feet.
"Please, there's no need to panic," Adam said, raising his hands to show that they were empty. "How much do you remember?"
"I… I remember that I attacked that other village, along with Captain Xenovia and Rider Zaeed, and…" Glenn said. He looked around at the ruins of this village and hid his face in his hands. "Oh, this is…"
"What are you surprised for?" Sunheart said mockingly. "This is what war means. If you can't kill, then you shouldn't pick up a weapon in the first place."
"I didn't become a Dragon Rider to attack the people I'm supposed to protect!" Glenn snapped. Though there was still some fear in him, he glared at the wyvern. "I didn't even want to become a Dragon Rider at all! I… I…"
Glenn looked back at the village. Tears began welling up in his eyes.
"I didn't want to become a Dragon Rider… but… but the reason I was willing to stay, to keep trying…" Glenn said, "was to protect Dragai, and humanity as a whole, from monsters… I thought that any monster… other than our own mounts… was a threat to humanity… But now…"
There was silence for a few seconds. Eventually, Lilith asked, "What do you want to do now? You don't have to come with us, I'm sure there's somewhere we could drop you off…"
"No," Glenn said firmly. "I want to follow you all to the next village… If we can make it there in time, I want to talk to the group sent there…"
"And just what do you think you can achieve by talking?" Sunheart half-asked, half-growled. "They've been sent out to kill, to destroy. A weakling like you won't—"
"If I know that group right, then… maybe not," Glenn said. "But we have to hurry there!"
Lilith nodded in agreement, and then she remembered something. "Hold on, I need to put this disguise on again…"
Lilith changed her hair to blonde and her eyes to green, the same disguise she'd had prior to entering the Great Dragai Empire. This caused Glenn to flinch in surprise and Sunheart to growl in puzzlement.
"What's the point of just doing that?" Sunheart asked. "Anyone can still see you're a monster."
"This isn't for that reason, but something else…" Lilith said. She glanced at Adam, who nodded. "We don't have time to waste, so we'll tell you about it along the way…"
Lilith picked up Glenn, who looked embarrassed at the action, and took flight again. Sunheart took flight as well, while Adam began running along the ground.
They flew through the air at high speed. Glenn soon forgot his embarrassment and looked down at the landscape in wonder.
"I've seen this land from the air many times, but…" Glenn said. "Is it different when you can fly with your own body?"
"I haven't exactly ridden any other monster before," Lilith said, "but I'm guessing it is different. Anyway, as for the reason why Adam and I need disguises…"
Over the next couple of minutes, Lilith explained how Justinia was slaughtering villages to control the human population and prevent a new Demon Lord from arising, and that Lilith and Adam were both disguising themselves to reduce the chances of being discovered by her. Lilith didn't, however, explain the details of Justinia's motivations… the truth of this world was a revelation too big to mention right now. She just said that Justinia believed that this would prevent a new Demon Lord, based on historical patterns.
"That's… That's horrible!" Glenn said.
"If it works, then it makes sense," Sunheart said, as she flew nearby. "It's no different from killing off the weakest in a clutch when there's not enough food to feed them all."
"How can you say that!" Glenn retorted. "Killing innocent people is wrong! And yes, I… I did that, but it's something that I intend on atoning for!"
Sunheart simply snorted. "That isn't just something dragons do. I'm sure humans—the poorer ones, at least—have to do the same thing when a harsh winter comes."
"That's… it can't be true…" Glenn said.
Unfortunately, Lilith wasn't able to deny this statement. She'd heard of various stories during her travels, stories that weren't just limited to killing off weaker children. There were also stories of humans resorting to eating their dead in times of starvation, and while that and killing of children were officially forbidden by the Order… most had to turn a blind eye out of necessity.
As much as I hate to admit it, I was lucky to be born a succubus, Lilith thought. We might not be the strongest of monsters, but we look after our own… except for the solitary ones… and we're good enough with magic that we don't normally have to worry about being hungry or sick or freezing to death. Still…
Lilith couldn't dwell on the past for long, because she and the others were now approaching the second village. Or the third, if one started counting from their entrance into Dragai.
This village was also destroyed: its buildings were razed to the ground, its population was gone. The sight caused Glenn to start weeping openly. But as Lilith landed and set Glenn down, she felt something was off about this ruined village.
Adam seemed to share this feeling. "Lilith, can you check again to see if there's anyone left?" he asked.
Lilith did so, and she discovered some good news this time. "There's… a few hundred humans, and some livestock as well, on the other side of the mountain!"
"Did they escape in time!?" Glenn asked, his voice now hopeful again.
"Doesn't make sense… the slavers would have searched for them," Sunheart said.
"Anyway, we have to go over there and check it out!" Lilith said.
They took to the air again, with the exception of Adam, and moved to the other side of the mountain. This side was covered in dense forest, and it was within this forest that the villagers and their livestock were hiding.
"I'll stay away for this part," Sunheart said. "It'd be annoying for me to land down there, and I'd just scare those weaklings, anyway."
Lilith descended to a point near the villagers, changed to human form and grabbed a tree branch as she neared the ground. The branch snapped, but it slowed Lilith's fall enough for her to land safely.
"Sorry about that, but I have a feeling these villagers wouldn't appreciate seeing a succubus, either," Lilith said, setting Glenn down again.
"N-No problem," Glenn said. "I've taken worse falls than that during training…"
Adam arrived shortly after. Despite his constant running, he showed no signs of fatigue.
Glenn gazed at Adam and then at Lilith in wonder. "You two have been active all night, more than I have, but you still look like you're fresh. I can't believe it…"
This was an uncomfortable topic, since the reason for Lilith and Adam's physical prowess was… well, something that shouldn't be mentioned to a stranger.
"Anyway, let's go," Adam said, more brusquely than usual.
They approached the villagers, who had set up camp in the forest. However, said camp was much more elaborate than Lilith would expect from something built in—at most—a few hours. The villagers were constructing log huts and had already completed a few. On the outskirts of the village, goats and cattle were grazing.
When Lilith and the others approached, the villagers shrank back in fear when they saw Glenn. To reassure them, Glenn called out, "It's alright, I'm not here to hurt you!"
After a short pause, one of the villagers asked, "You… are you friends with those Dragon Riders from earlier?"
"I wouldn't exactly call myself their friend, but…" Glenn said. "I agree with them that these attacks on you geytar are wrong. And these two are foreign heroes, who want to help!"
Technically, Lilith wasn't a hero, but there was little point in mentioning that now. She asked the villagers, "Just what happened here? It looks like the Dragon Riders from earlier helped you?"
"Yes… Yes, they did!" another of the villagers replied. "They came from the sky, and we all thought they were going to kill us for helping the rebels. But, but instead they…"
"They said they couldn't bring themselves to kill us," a third villager said. "They told us to run, and bring along everything we could carry."
"They even carried the weaker ones, the young children and the elders, to this place," yet another villager said. He gestured around at the log huts. "And they cleared out any monsters and felled many trees, to help us build our new village."
"I see… they… they did a lot for you," Glenn said. "I'll… I'll have to congratulate them when I meet them again…"
"What do you plan on doing now?" Adam asked. "If you remain in this forest, it's unlikely the aristocracy will find you again…"
The villagers looked at each other. Resignation was clear on their faces.
"We just… we just want to live in peace."
"It might be rough living in this forest, but it's better than living out in the open where we could be slaughtered in an instant."
"It's a shame what's going on elsewhere… but we can't help anyone if we can't even protect ourselves."
After receiving various responses like this, Glenn looked down at the ground, while Adam said, "Then we will leave you in peace. May you find safety in your new home."
"And you might have figured this out already, but if you want to make sure you stay hidden, you could try letting plants grow over your houses," Lilith suggested. "That'll make them much harder to spot from the air."
The three of them turned around and moved away from the village.
"That squadron consisted of Captain Mira, Rider Jonathan and Rider Wendy," Glenn lamented. "They never laughed at me for being a poor Dragon Rider, unlike… some others… and when this civil war started, they looked like they had doubts. And I should have tried to be like them. I should have talked to Captain Xenovia and Rider Zaeed, the other members of my squadron, tried to make them show mercy…"
"Judging from how they acted around us, I don't think that would have worked," Lilith pointed out.
"They could have seen you as a rebel as well, if you'd done that," Adam said. "Your choice… I can't say it was a wrong one."
Once they were out of sight of the village, they made their way out of the forest and to a plateau where Sunheart was waiting. The wyvern had captured a goat—presumably one of the village's livestock, having gotten lost during the chaos as the villagers evacuated—and was now gorging herself on the meat. They explained what they'd just learned to Sunheart.
"Hmph, so they did all that," Sunheart said, swallowing one last mouthful of goat meat. "Fools. If anyone finds out about this, they'd be killed as punishment."
Glenn opened his mouth to retort, then closed it and shook his head. Rather than being afraid of Sunheart, it seemed that he simply didn't feel like he could change the wyvern's mind about anything.
"Moving on, our next destination is the capital," Adam said. "The fighting may still be going on there, or it may have ended, but either way we must find out."
"Yes, we have to go there at once," Glenn said.
"Count me out of that," Sunheart growled. "I've seen enough of that cursed city for a lifetime. I'm heading back into the untamed mountains, where we dragons are supposed to be."
"If that's what you want, then fine," Lilith said. She narrowed her eyes. "But you shouldn't attack humans again, for your own sake if nothing else. You wouldn't want to be captured again, would you?"
"I'm not small and weak like when I was captured," Sunheart snarled, approaching Lilith to within a threatening distance. "But fine. I've lost my taste for human flesh, anyway."
Sunheart spread her wings and took off with a series of powerful flaps. She didn't bother making her ascent comfortable for the others, so gusts of wind battered them, though they were able to hold on. After a few moments, the wyvern was no more than a faint red shape in the sky, barely distinguishable against the background of stars.
"It's a shame that she's left," Lilith said. "Still, it's only natural that not all monsters would want to work with humans, especially one with her history…"
Glenn nodded sadly. "In hindsight, it's amazing that there's been no rebellion until now… I wonder why no one else has been as brave as Dell Walker… Anyway, we have to get moving, and—oh!"
"What is it?" Adam asked.
"Could you… could you take off your armour before we enter the capital, Hero Adam?" Glenn asked. "You see, plate armour in Dragai is only possessed by the nobility… and it's made of dragonbone… so your armour would stand out. Your sword as well, though Li—Miss Lilith's spear should be fine. We'd have to find someplace to hide your armour and sword…"
"Certainly," Adam said. "Now, what should we do once we arrive at the capital? Are you prepared to fight your former allies, Glenn?"
Glenn shook with fear, but he declared, "I am. Now I realise that the Dragai Empire must change. We can't keep doing things this way."
Both Lilith and Adam smiled at this. It wasn't easy to go against the majority of society, and since Glenn was willing to do this, he was arguably braver than either of the Dragon Riders he'd previously worked with.
"Though if the fighting has already ended… will you be able to let us into the capital?" Adam asked.
"I should… I should be recognised by the gate guards as a Dragon Rider," Glenn said. "And I can claim that you two are geytar serving under me… I-If that's insulting, I'm sorry!"
"No, it's fine, we don't have any problems with that," Lilith said.
"In that case… we should be able to get through the gate…" Glenn said. "Though if the rebel side has taken over, then I'd be seen as an enemy… We'll see when we get there…"
With their planning complete, they set off for the capital of Dragai, the city known simply as the "Imperial Capital". Throughout the journey, Glenn told Lilith about the country of Dragai, and Lilith relayed this information to Adam via telepathy.
When they arrived, the sun was halfway above the horizon, giving them a better view of the capital. And it was immediately obvious that the fighting had concluded.
That said, three days and three nights of warfare had left their mark on the city. The city would have been a marvellous sight normally, consisting of stone buildings that seemed to be carved from the very mountainside. But now, dozens of buildings had collapsed and the streets were strewn with rubble and the bodies of the dead. Even the bodies of wyverns could be seen lying in the streets.
"Which side has won?" Lilith said, as she through the air. "I can't tell from up here…"
"It's… It's the side I once belonged to, the aristocracy…" Glenn said. He pointed towards the roof of an enormous palace in the centre of the city, where a green flag flew. "That's the flag of Dragai… If it's still flying, then the aristocracy must have won."
This… complicated things. If the geytar, the commoners had won, then there would be no need for intervention. If the fighting still continued, then the three of them could contribute and potentially help tip the balance in the geytar's favour. But now that the aristocracy had won…
For now, they needed to learn more information. Lilith landed in a rugged rockfield some distance away from the city, and set Glenn down. If Lilith had sensed any Dragon Riders in the air, she would have stopped at an even greater distance from the city, but it seemed that the Dragon Riders were too weary from the civil war.
Adam soon arrived, and he hid his sword and armour beneath the rocks. Just in case, Lilith added a glamour to give the equipment the colour and texture of rock, making them even more difficult for passers-by to spot… not that many people would pass by this barren, empty rockfield in the first place. Adam kept a dagger on him, hidden under his clothing. Lilith, for her part, simply took on human form again.
Once they were finished with their preparations, they walked boldly towards the nearest gate of the Imperial Capital. This was an opening in the stone wall that was big enough to fit an adult wyvern, or perhaps two wyverns walking side-by-side. There were once a pair of equally large gates blocking the opening, but these had been blasted off their hinges by some incredible force, leaving wooden chunks and metal shards lying on the ground. The people of the city didn't even have the time to clean this up…
There was a single guard standing outside the gate. His armour was stained with dirt and some dried blood, and he looked like he'd be sitting down if that was allowed. The guard looked up as Lilith and the others approached.
"Ah—a Dragon Rider!?" the guard cried out. "Uh… welcome back to the city, sir! But… your wyvern…?"
"My squadron got into a fight with some of the rebel Dragon Riders," Glenn said, in a commanding tone that showed no hints of nervousness. "I was the only survivor. I was fortunate enough to run into these two loyalists," he gestured at Lilith and Adam, "and with their help, managed to make it back here."
"I see… then you should go inside and get a good rest," the guard said, gesturing towards the gate. "There's been a lot of losses… on both sides… but you should be able to find somewhere to rest."
Glenn nodded curtly towards the guard, then he and the other two walked through the gate. As soon as Glenn was on the other side, he let out the accumulated tension in his body, something that Lilith noticed quite clearly.
"Can you keep going, Glenn?" Lilith asked quietly.
"I can," Glenn replied, just as quietly. "Now, let's head for the Dragon Rider headquarters first, it's near the centre of the city…"
They walked through the streets of the Imperial Capital. All around them, the people were doing their best to clean up and rebuilt, but they were clearly struggling; the damage left by battles among Dragon Riders was incredibly extensive. It was chillingly reminiscent of what Lilith had seen in Lescatie, after the baphomet's attack…
And supposedly, this is less than what would happen if there was a Demon Lord around… Lilith thought. It's hard to imagine, but… my mother did have some stories like that, stories of entire countries laid waste by monsters…
Did Justinia have a point? To stop destruction and suffering on that level, would it really be worth—
No! That isn't right! There has to be another way, a better way!
Lilith did her best to not show any of her inner conflict on the outside. But she wasn't able to hide it from her partner, who grasped her hand briefly and gave her a reassuring glance.
That's right, I'm not alone in this… Even if it's hard, we have to try to change this world!
That was the end of that conflict… for now.
Lilith paid more attention to her surroundings. She noticed harsh gazes from many of the humans, and for a moment she wondered if they suspected she was a monster in disguise. But soon she realised the actual reason behind their gazes.
They're geytar as well… Most, almost all of them must have been sympathetic to the rebels… And now the rebels have lost, and the geytar will keep suffering like this… What can we do to help them now?
Some time later, they passed by a dead wyvern. The wyvern had bled so much that the ground for over twenty paces around had been stained red. The humans in the area were giving this corpse a wide berth. None looked like they wanted to be the ones who would eventually drag it away.
But before they arrived at the Dragon Rider headquarters, a loud voice resounded throughout the Imperial Capital, a voice that was clearly amplified by magic.
"MY CITIZENS! LOYAL CITIZENS OF THE GREAT DRAGAI EMPIRE! COME TO THE CENTRAL SQUARE AT ONCE!"
The city was now filled with commotion as the people discussed this new order. But despite any misgivings they might have had, they began moving towards the centre of the city.
"That was King Julius himself," Glenn whispered to his two companions. "This could be bad… but we must go there as well, find out what's going on."
They thus followed the crowd to the central square of the Imperial Capital. This was located right next to a palace, the same palace that Glenn had pointed out earlier, which could only be the imperial palace. And the square itself was big enough to fit two or three palaces, but it was gradually becoming packed with people as more and more filed in from the surrounding streets.
Several of the roofs around the square had Dragon Riders perched on them. These Dragon Riders had wounds and dented armour that were apparent even from a distance, yet they vigilantly watched over the gathering crowd, presumably for any signs of further rebellion.
The doors to the palace weren't at ground-level, but on a raised platform with stairs leading to it. This platform remained clear of the crowd thanks to two Dragon Riders on either side of the doors. These Dragon Riders gave off auras of power and experience that were far greater than any of the Dragon Riders Lilith had previously met; they seemed to be comparable to the senior heroes of Lescatie. And standing in between the Dragon Riders was the king of the Great Dragai Empire, Julius Rigride Drake.
King Julius looked to be in his fifties, with short red hair that had mostly gone grey. He was dressed in ornate golden clothing with a cloak of red dragonscales draped over his shoulders. On his head was a crown, but this was a simple band of gold, without any of the jewels that would typically be found in a king's crown. And despite being right next to two Dragon Riders, he showed no signs of fear or intimidation.
Lilith thought back on what Glenn had said earlier. King Julius had ascended to the throne over thirty years ago, at the young age of twenty-two, and proceeded to make major changes. He minimised the influence of the Order, abolished the Senate that had formerly held considerable power, and strengthened the Dragon Riders, increasing the membership of this group by more than three times. He'd made Dragai an even greater power in the world… yet not without cost. His policies forced the geytar of Dragai to capture wyverns at higher rates and train them more quickly, resulting in more suffering for both the geytar and the wyverns.
But ultimately, Dragai's enslaving of dragons goes back beyond him, Lilith thought. This is a bigger problem than just one man.
A minute or so passed, during which the central square became absolutely packed with people. It was so packed that Lilith was pressed right up against Adam, and both of them along with Glenn were pressed against other people. But Glenn didn't receive much attention here, possibly because everyone was looking in the direction of the royal palace.
Finally, the king spoke again.
"People of Dragai!" King Julius shouted, amplifying his voice to a lesser extent than before. "For the past three days, this country has been ravaged by war! Not war against monsters, not war against another nation, but war amongst ourselves! A war that began because of certain fools who did not know their rightful place, and who took pity on dragons, thinking that they were being tortured! They took pity on monsters, the enemies of humanity!"
King Julius laughed, as did the Dragon Riders next to him and surrounding the square. There was some scattered laughter among the crowd as well, but it was clearly forced.
"Those fools rose up against us, the rightful rulers and protectors of the Great Dragai Empire!" King Julius continued. "They sought to supplant us, to take our positions and our wealth for themselves! Naturally, they failed… but in the process, they still committed a grave crime! They released all of the dragons that were kept in this city, the dragons that had been captured thanks to your effort! And because of them, those dragons are free again… free to attack and devour humans! Every human that is devoured by a dragon from this moment on is because of them!"
It was a blatant lie. Lilith was sure that everyone here could see through it. Wyverns and other dragons had been attacking humans since before Dragai even existed, and they had been attacking them throughout every year of its existence. But…
"They were fools!"
"My parents died because of them!"
The geytar of Dragai had no option but to repeat this lie. They weren't the ones who held the power in this country, after all. And a lie repeated long enough would be seen as the truth… even in the minds of those who repeated it.
We have to do something, Lilith thought. We have to act, before the people here lose all hope of resisting!
When the shouts of the crowd died down to some extent, King Julius clapped his hands. A Dragon Rider flew into the empty area in front of the palace and deposited a man wrapped in chains, then flew off again. The chained man was so covered in bruises and dried blood that his facial features were mostly obscured, but Lilith noticed freckles covering his cheeks. She also noticed that the man was much shorter than average.
"This is the leader of those foolish traitors!" King Julius shouted, approaching the chained man and pulling him up by his hair for all to see. "He is the one who persuaded others to join his mad cause, to free the dragons, to start the civil war that has bloodied the Great Dragai Empire! A mere up-jumped geytar, who hadn't even finished his training as a Dragon Rider! This is Dell Walker!"
The crowd began hurling abuse at Dell, blaming him for their suffering. Like before, this was out of fear of the Dragon Riders surrounding them… but how long would it take before it became genuine?
"There are others who were foolish enough to work with him, seven of them!" King Julius continued. "They are currently rotting in my dungeons, under heavy guard. And by the law, I could kill them all right now! I could have them decapitated, burnt alive, fed to the mounts of our mighty Dragon Riders. I could even snap their necks with my bare hands, if I so desired! But that's not enough! It isn't remotely enough of a punishment for the crimes they have committed!"
Do we have to act now? Lilith wondered. She looked around at the Dragon Riders. There's too many for us to fight, but if it's just saving Dell and getting out of here, we might be able to manage it…
"To punish them adequately, I am preparing something special!" King Julius shouted. "A method of execution that has never been used before in this world! A method fitting for the crimes these traitors have committed!"
We'd have to distract them first… Lilith thought desperately. I could fill this entire square with magical fog, creating an opening to pull Dell out of there… Adam could fight properly if he manages to steal one of the Dragon Riders' swords… But, the people in this square would get hurt…
"But I cannot carry out their execution immediately!" King Julius shouted. "To give a fitting execution for these traitors, I must make the appropriate preparations! They will thus die at noon! They will die for the glory of Dragai!"
"For the glory of Dragai!" chanted the Dragon Riders, and much of the crowd.
Staying here would be unbearable. As soon as the crowd began to thin, Lilith and the others began making their way out of the square.
Ten minutes after the king's speech ended, Lilith, Adam and Glenn were sitting around a table in a dimly lit room. This room was in a building in a poorer district of the city, and according to Glenn they wouldn't be overheard here, provided they kept their voices down. Just in case, Lilith had also applied a spell to the room to muffle any sounds leaking out.
"Is there any way to… to make the other Dragon Riders unable to fight?" Glenn asked. "If that happens, then it would be simple to rescue Dell's group and to overthrow the aristocracy."
"If we came here under normal circumstances, perhaps," Adam said. "But not now. After that civil war, they will all be extremely alert for any signs of treachery, whether it's poison, magic or anything else."
"And even if we had come here before, I'm not so sure we'd succeed," Lilith said. "There's a lot of Dragon Riders here, and some of them are definitely experienced, especially those two that were next to the king just now…"
"Commander Renard and Commander Serafine," Glenn said. "They're the greatest of all Dragon Riders in this era, by far. Some say that if there was a Demon Lord around, one of those two would become the hero who slayed the Demon Lord."
Lilith had her doubts about that. If a Demon Lord was even stronger than the baphomet that had attacked Lescatie, then they likely wouldn't fall even to the two greatest Dragon Riders. But that wasn't important right now.
"Whatever we do, we have to do it fast," Lilith said. "We have to act before the execution happens. That's just hours away."
"With the resources we have at this moment, we can't do anything," Adam said. "Not against an enemy that is both strong and alert."
Glenn buried his face in his hands. "Then can we only do nothing!? Is our option to let Dell and the others die, and hope the king and the Dragon Riders let down their guard afterwards!?"
"We can't do nothing," Lilith said firmly. "If we can't manage this alone, then we'll need to… to…"
Lilith trailed off. The solution that had just come to her mind… it had been right in front of her eyes, in front of all of their eyes, yet only now had any of them realised it.
"What is it, Lilith?" Adam asked.
"Those wyverns that were freed, back at the start of this civil war… just where are they now?" Lilith asked.
Glenn's face lit up with hope, but then darkened just as quickly. "They flew towards the northwest, a rugged part of Dragai where no humans live. I think that's where Sunheart flew as well. But those wyverns were almost all juveniles, and even most of the older ones wouldn't have much combat experience. Even if they were willing to help, they'd just be slaughtered by the army of Dragon Riders here."
"Yes, but what if it wasn't just the escaped wyverns?" Lilith suggested. "What if we could get the wild wyverns, and the other kinds of dragons to help? They might be willing to help since so many of their own kind were just helped by humans!"
It was a long shot, especially since dragon-type monsters weren't as social as humans or, for example, succubi. They might not care about their kin being helped by humans, or at least they might not care enough to fight. However, this was arguably the best option available to Lilith and the others.
"Hmm… it could work," Adam said. "At the same time, there's the risk of the dragons becoming vengeful and wanting to wipe out the humans, instead."
"Still, we have to try!" Glenn said. "We have to at least find out what the wild dragons think of humans right now!"
The young Dragon Rider had matured a lot over the past few hours. He'd gone from reluctantly helping slaughter civilians to fighting back against the very country he was part of. His parents would be proud of him… if they weren't loyalists, and if they actually respected their son to make his own decisions.
Over the next few minutes, they came up with their plan. Lilith and Adam would fly northwest, the direction in which the freed wyverns had escaped, as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Glenn would remain in the Imperial Capital to keep an eye on the situation, and convey any information to them via a telepathic link that Lilith established with him. If it proved impossible to get help from the dragons, then Lilith and Adam would return and try to free the captured rebel leaders before they were executed. And if the dragons decided to wipe out all the humans of Dragai… then Lilith and Adam could only return and try to warn of the impending attack.
Once everything was finalised, Lilith and Adam left the city via the west gate, the former using a little mental magic to prevent the guard noticing them. They picked up Adam's sword and armour again, and once Adam was fully dressed in his armour, Lilith picked him up and flew to the northwest.