When the chaos from Manohar\'s death and the Dead King\'s threats reached its apex, the members of the Undead Courts attacked every city where one of their branches was located.
The Dusk, Dawn, and Night Court had collaborated to turn as many Thralls as possible into undead and to raise armies of lesser undead exactly for that moment.
Every city had cemeteries and slaughterhouses, providing them with everything they needed.
The attack was swift, brutal, and bloody.
To the citizens of the Kingdom, it looked like another attempt of conquest but the undead\'s only aim was to brew fear.
They didn\'t attack strategic objectives or places that would give them the upper hand in the long term.
They focused on the most populous areas, killing in the most cruel and terrifying ways possible.
Fear grew into terror that soon became utter despair when the citizens received no help as their friends and neighbors kept being slaughtered in front of their eyes.
The attack lasted barely over one hour yet it felt like years.
The main forces of the soldiers of the army and the mages of the Association was busy defending the local strategic assets and could only dispatch so many units to protect the residential areas without compromising the safety of the whole city.
They held their position, waiting for an attack that never came.
After a while, the generals in charge of the cities grew restless and sent their men to stop the onslaught in the streets, playing straight into Thrud\'s hands.
The moment the security was minimal, her shapeshifters conquered the City Halls, gaining control of the arrays, while her army saved the citizens.
The undead and the Awakened beasts played their role to perfection, making each other bleed in a fight apparently to the death while they actually avoided hitting vital spots.
The army, the Association, but most importantly the Royals looked like incompetent fools, taking so long to mobilize their forces whereas it took minutes to Thrud\'s army to save countless lives and restore order.
Everything had been an act, but the people had no way to know it and acclaimed their saviors as heroes instead of an invading army, even helping them to deal with the Kingdom\'s forces when they tried to kill them for no apparent reason.
The Mad Queen had been meticulous, focusing her efforts to capture areas that would be vital after a famine and before the next harvest.
The undead had attacked everywhere, but she had claimed solely the cities with strategic value and plenty of her shapeshifters.
The rest had just been a ruse, to keep the Kingdom from focusing their forces as well and hide her real objectives.
The people of the captured cities acclaimed her marching parade without putting up a fight.
Not only was their new Queen the leader of the heroes that had saved them, she also had the support of the most trustworthy nobles and officials that had gained their reputation through decades of selfless service to the community.
Little did the citizens know that the former had just followed a script and that the latter were just Skinwalkers that had replaced their precious heroes.
Before sunrise, the Nestrar region was mostly in her hands and so were other major cities throughout the country, giving Thrud control over one-third of the Kingdom.
Good gods, you really did it. Jormun couldn\'t believe his eyes as he followed Thrud from one city to another through the Kingdom\'s Gate system and witnessed her flag replacing that of the Royals.
It depicted a prancing Griffon like that of the Royal family, but Thrud\'s was golden, with two sets of feathered wings and one of the scepters replaced by Arthan\'s Sword.
It depicted Thud\'s form as a Golden Griffon that she had gained after becoming a white core.
I would have never made it without you, my love. She gave the Emerald Dragon a dazzling smile and took the little Valeron from his arms.
Soon everything will belong to mommy and daddy and one day it will be yours.
The baby giggled, enjoying his mother\'s warmth.
I\'m glad you recognize the importance of my role, sweetheart. Orpal walked through the glass door, joining them on the balcony.
The bed is big and I don\'t mind sharing.
What do you say if we three celebrate
Call me sweetheart again and I\'ll kill you. Thrud\'s voice was calm to not scare the kid, but her eyes blazed with dull white light and feathers popped from her skin.
She hadn\'t forgotten her promise to kill whoever had pointlessly murdered loyal servants of the Kingdom like Lark and Mirim.
She was now certain that Orpal was insane and he couldn\'t be trusted.
Yet until she finished siphoning his power and influence over the Undead Courts, she needed him.
He was a rabid dog that she would happily put down the moment he outlived his usefulness.
Angry sex in our hybrid forms Kinky. Orpal replied with a lustful gaze.
It drove Jormun mad with fury to the point that he forgot about his trauma and his conflicting feelings for the Mad Queen, leaving only killing intent.
Talk to my wife like that in front of our child again and I\'ll destroy you even if it costs the alliance with the Undead Courts. He grabbed Orpal\'s shoulder, his hand covered in emerald scales and ending with claws.
Jormun\'s grip was a vise that could bend steel, but it could do nothing against the Davross of the Black Rose armor.
Take that filthy hand off me, lizard, or I\'ll- Suddenly Orpal felt sick, his stomach knotting and fever running under his skin.
He was already partly undead, yet he felt like dying.
Call me whatever you want, but don\'t forget that I am an Emerald Dragon and I deal in life forces.
I know how you managed to survive such a quick body and core refinement.
It would take me but a nudge to turn you into a bloody firework.
Jormun kept injecting his aura inside the Horseman\'s body, splitting his two life forces and making Orpal\'s highly unstable.
Here you have no steed and even if you summon Moonlight, I\'ll show you the difference between an artifact crafted by a white core and one made by a Guardian.
Are we clear Jormun\'s voice was the same he used to play with Valeron, making the baby giggle.
Crystal. Orpal replied as Arthan\'s Sword prickled at the skin under his chin until he bled.
Thrud giggled at the scene like a little girl as well.
It was the first time that Jormun referred to her as his wife.
She was so happy seeing him standing up for her that she almost forgave Orpal\'s rudeness.
Calm down, my love.
Not in front of the baby. She put her hand on his shoulder and for once he didn\'t shrug it off.
You are right. Jormun\'s eyes didn\'t match his words, expressing all the pain that letting Orpal live caused him.
Make a wish, asshole. Thrud grabbed the collar of the Black Rose armor while silver bolts of lightning ran through her body.
She lifted and tossed the Horseman as if he weighed nothing, turning him into a morning shooting star that shone under the sunlight and crashed kilometers away from the city.
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