The bishop started his proposal by pointing out the passiveness in the agriculturist’s plan. Whether it was a shelter above ground or underground; the fact remained that Ironheart’s way of life would never be the same.
Therefore, he proposed a bold plan to persuade Fazegaid—the dragon that set the Dark Forest ablaze and caused the crisis—and have it divert the ashes away from Ironheart.
The dragon’s mighty wings could bring forth tempests. Its strength could move mountains. And even if all physical means proved futile, a dragon’s magic would still far surpass that of any mortal. Furthermore, by approaching the dragon, they might be able to speak to the archbishop himself without traveling all the way across the ocean.
At this point, the bishop signaled the princess, who was both the priestess of the church and the master of wizardry, to take over the explanation.
Her explanation had proven unpopular among the non-magical masters, many of whom took the opportunity to go on a toilet break while the ironsmith dozed off. It seemed Granny Annabel had decided to turn a blind eye this time, saying she would not subject her worst enemy to this sort of boredom.
There remained a few masters who showed a modicum of interest in wizardry. The strategist paid close attention to any and all matters that he could employ on the battlefield. The merchant listened to anything that could turn into profit. And finally, the historian, who was taking refuge on the church’s bench, pretended he was interested even though, in all likelihood, the guy could not care less about wizardry.
By the time Leo returned to the Hall of Guidance, the princess had finished her explanation and it was the bishop who was standing on the central platform again. Father Felacia did not wait for the inventor to settle down before addressing him.
“Ah, wait a minute, linguist!” the bishop beckoned. “Can you—”
“No!” Leo shouted, giving the bishop no chance to finish his inquiry, and threw himself on the bench next to the sleeping ironsmith.
The bishop frowned. “But I haven’t—“
The inventor interrupted the bishop again.
“I can speak Gondrash but I’m not walking up to something with more teeth than I,” Leo grumbled.
“Fear not! We shall be there to protect you and so shall the Lord!” the bishop proclaimed. His hand indicated the deacon and the princess.
The inventor eyed the deacon and the princess. He made a conscious decision to not cringe at the thought.
Indeed, the two of them would be sufficient to take on every red-helm knight in the kingdom. They were strong, natural-disaster strong. A hydra or two would not deter these sorcerers. But, this was a dragon they were talking about, and this was Fazegaid the eater of realms no less.
He could tell in a glance that the deacon, Father Graham, was wavering. The guy could not decide whether to trust God’s providence or to trust his rational mind, which must be screaming at him to call off this group suicide.
On the other hand, the princess appeared confident…and smug. She seemed to enjoy seeing Leo panicking.
“Uh…you see…I’m not pious enough to have God watch over my shoulder. I rarely visit the church and when I do, I always go to sell something…” Leo confessed in a low tone.
The bishop opened his eyes wide.
“You are doing God’s will with the cure! You’re saving thousands through your splendid works. Surely, the Lord will not overlook your valor this time either,” he declared. His arms stretched out and opened up as though offering an embrace.
The inventor curled his hand into a fist and hammered his own forehead repeatedly, trying to get rid of the frustration he was experiencing. Then, he let out a heavy sigh and pointed at the princess.
“Okay, how about this? Since she is an acquaintance of that dragon, how about we send her instead?” Leo proposed.
On the oaken throne separating the church’s bench and the masters’ bench, Sir Richard raised his voice to cut in the conversation.
“Are you telling us to put Her Highness in grave danger?” the baron groaned.
“I don’t mean…Wait! Are you telling me to put myself in grave danger?” the inventor snapped back at the baron with a question of his own.
“It’s called patriotism,” the baron retorted.
“Alright, let me tell you the topic of my next thesis for the philosopher’s trial: the hypocrisy of patriotism,” Leo hissed.
The princess had to step in and stopped the escalation.
“If you call getting swallowed whole and spat out like a dog’s bone acquaintanceship then yes, I am an acquaintance of Fazegaid. I don’t know Gondrash so I have never been able to command him beyond what His Excellency taught me,” she revealed.
“Telling me I’m the only person who can speak Gondrash changes nothing! Why can’t we just put off this terrible idea and take the agriculturist’s idea instead? Let the council vote!” the inventor advocated.
“Very well,” the baron said and rose from his throne, “We shall vote on these two ideas and a third idea: we do both.”