The secondary characters got rather far into the future in this segment – hence posting it has been delayed a bit so that it’s closer to it’s proper point in the game timeline.
In the Dragon Empire, Markov had turned his attention to expanding his coalition… It was easy enough at first! He was far more powerful than any normal young dragon, if he did say so himself!
OK, enough of them had special tricks or extra powers to keep it interesting and challenging – but they were only young adults… It was climbing the ladder without waiting for age to bring him free power that would be the real challenge.
Over the first few weeks that led to them defeating six other young adults who refused to join or pay protection – adding their holdings, current slaves, hatchlings, and selves to their coalitions assets, recruiting four other dragons, and pushing three “associates” into paying for protection.
His partner was very pleased to have enslaved two male clutchmates he’d never gotten along with – along with a hundred or so nieces and nephews. His sister had been more cooperative with their new coalition – even if she had insisted on NOT enslaving a few of the nieces and nephews for the moment.
Well, females were like that sometimes. They fairly often gave hatchlings second chances, or even took in the stray offspring of their parents or siblings… Once in a great while they even took pity on strays with nothing to offer!
Females could be WEIRD.
By that time their their operation was drawing some local notice – and Markov’s subordinates were being pleasantly surprised at the variety of support available from Markov’s creche. They started wanting to know how he’d arranged that – and wanted Felan to train a few slaves for them.
It wouldn’t be long before they were noticed beyond the local level and some serious opposition appeared.
Meanwhile, Ishvialsen, their gold competitor, had been sweeping up minor dragons – blacks and whites mostly – in an attempt to match numbers. Now, however, he was starting to target the young reds – and it was becoming something of a race between their coalition and his solo operation as to who would collect them first.
Markov focused on the Reds… if there was a concerted effort to grab one, he’d show up personally!
Off-dimension Marty sighed. Evil rode to the rescue once again… He was beginning to see why Kevin did that; it was fun and doesn’t come with the baggage of being good! You didn’t need to worry about lapses of temper, or grabbing something for yourself along the way! Evil… expected a reasonable level of pure selfishness – and it didn’t really demand consistency either. You could do good deeds if you wanted; evil didn’t need to justify itself – and if you wanted to do something nice, you just did it – and if you felt some odd need to justify it for some reason you just came up with a selfish motive!
He was also beginning to see why a school which enslaved two-thirds of the students who went through it (even after the 85% washout rate during initial testing) actually seemed attractive to the Hatchlings… The academic programs were VERY good, and would prepare them far better than training at home – and the risk was actually somewhat smaller than being subjected to the casual whims of their parents and direct competition with other hatchlings in the creche.
At least he could probably get Markov to send the ones who wanted to go there. How could an aspect of HIMSELF be so hard to influence? Was there something to the rumors of some sort of “dragon kings” pre-human influence that rendered draconic identities hard to handle?
Markov wasn’t especially resistant to that notion anyway. If he paid ahead, any who wound up enslaved would just be returned to him – and they really were some good programs, even for the ones who wound up as slaves!
It would be a few months before there were openings. Ailill was expanding the school very quickly indeed, but the demand was vast (particularly amongst the Metallics). Still, it looked like most of the hatchlings would gladly go for that given the chance – except for the ones who would want to stick with Marty and his coalition-building!
Felan would probably fit right in in the duelist program, as would the others who really showed promise. Most of the others would go into the gambler, military, and adventurer programs.
Marty was actually rather pleased there. Those were his kids – the offspring of his mind, soul, and creative power, if not of his human body. Those careers could quite easily bring them to Kadia (and perhaps to their grandfather’s casino) eventually, and keep them in interesting jobs, even if he never entirely gained control of his unruly draconic identity… And at least the slaves would be pretty happy for the moment – after the initial pain – and he should be able to rescue them eventually!
Oh dear. Was it simply that fully integrating Markov would involve integrating some long-buried aspects of himself into his active consciousness that he’d really rather not? Kevin seemed to have more-or-less accepted a lot of the dragon-aspects into his personality – and showed the same odd combination of intense protectiveness towards “his” children in general (even if he did seem to accept every child in existence as being potentially his) and a certain ruthlessness towards any single one of them… How much of Kevin’s underlying personality had been taken over by his identities? Was he really focused on ANYTHING other than maintaining that rigid control?
Huh… He hated to admit it – but, in some ways, being Markov really was loads of fun. In fact, without even really thinking about it he seemed to have concluded that “lots of kids” was one of the perks of a multi-dimensional existence coupled with godhood. Social commitments – such as to his parrot-identities new wife – mostly went with the individual identities…
There really wasn’t any other way to do it – and Markov had more-or-less spurred that realization.
Of course, there was also the special “when a dragon…” rule – but Kevin had set the precedent for that one anyway.
The Thrall-concubines in Kadia were – of course – very pleased with that conclusion. They’d be allowed to please Lord Marty some more and to bear more of his children as well as raising the ones they’d already borne! That was wonderful news!
Limey was pleased as well! Marty was having fun (and was being diverted from his fun! Marty had almost lost patience with him a time or two, and he NEVER wanted THAT to happen!).
What Abigail would say… Well, it was on distant worlds, and perhaps she would never find out!
Meanwhile though… Marty was a bit exhausted from the ongoing battle of wills with Markov, and left that identity to run on it’s own for a bit while he forgot about the screams of tortured hatchlings.
Of course, Battling Business World seriously needed his attention too! The Number Lords were launching a major push. They’d managed to work out an alliance with the Final Bosses of the Video Game World – and an alliance with some of the Anime Demon Realms – and were trying to absorb Battling Business World into the realms of the numbers wholesale and use it to spread their influence throughout every realm with business offices.
They’d started in Japan, since England was already more-or-less subdued while New York had put up relatively little resistance to Lord Zero’s rampages after those ridiculous squirrels had cleared out.
And Japan was losing… They were currently trying to subvert the alliance by suggesting that compurters and video games were a way to eliminate all of the Number Lords other than ONE and ZERO – but the idea wasn’t gaining much traction. The Number Lords were primarily creatures of pure mathematics, rather than of calculation.
The local magic level wasn’t too bad as of yet (the Anime Demons needed it), but the demonic invasion force had included a number of hentai creatures (after all, those were some of the few that often won), including tentacle demons – and those were very hard on innocent young magical girls!
That was truly horrible! There was no time to waste! Marty took off for Japan immediately! CURRENCY CLOUD, AWAY!
Besides, there were a lot of battling businesspeople in Japan who might worship him if he could get them past the whole “Westerner” thing… Still, it should be easy to make friends and influence Kami at the moment! And rent a room at a traditional inn, and maybe get a kimono…
Back in Escrima, in the nursery, Marty sighed. He never would have believed that he would be such a bother to himself! Trying to keep his identities focused was a nightmare… Had he been this much trouble for Mr Leland? The man was a wonder!
There was no help for it; he was going to need some more Thralls to help keep things sorted out – preferably a half a dozen to dozen or so per world.
He kept forgetting that Thralls were eager to volunteer for any position working for Kevin or his associates. He got dozens of volunteers for everywhere, including the Dragon Empire.
He selected the best and sent them out!
Meanwhile, in Battling Business World Japan, the Comforter of Numerologists was finding the place a bit… devastated. Japan was used to video game attacks – but not in combination with anime demons AND hostile mathematics! The combination of massive physical power, an anime theme that often won, and the digits ability to manipulate the odds and drive men mad was pretty potent.
The Magical Girls usually formed the first line of defense – but, in this case, that wasn’t working out well! Too bad that innocence didn’t reset!
The assorted godlings, giant monsters, samurai swordsmen, mad scientists (and their sapient devices), giant robots, defense agencies, shapeshifters, and wizards were doing their best – but in the face of three simultaneous assaults, their efforts were not enough. Admittedly, Tokyo got leveled by giant monsters every day or so normally – but usually it didn’t stay that way…
That was BAD. The Number Lords had somehow cancelled the local reset! Marty got to work with Limey… Considering how loose the local reality is, he might be able to multiply the human defenders’ sizes with his Mathematics Magic and a bit of Dominion-based backing – or perhaps jump-start the reset at least! The defenders needed their infrastructure!
Wait… were they trying to progress the plot to post-apocalyptic japan? Not that! Anything but that! Everybody would be running around punching each other in the chest and saying “You’re already dead!” That got old really fast, especially when it happened to you every day for weeks!
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 194a – La Belle Draco sans Merci (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 193b – The Lesser Dragonwars (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 192c – Reporting In (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 192b – Dragon Hunting (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 184b – The Return of Ruthless Ruth (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 191a – The Many Worlds Apotheosis (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 174 – The Darkness Before the Domination from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 177 – Family Matters (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Sessions 189-190 part I – Pets Versus Employees (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 192a – A Dragon Born (ruscumag.wordpress.com)