Perrin ambled over to a cabinet nearby and took out three designs, “Take a look, these are what I’ve come up with. They’re not complete, but I’ve written down my thought process if that helps.”
Richard took the designs and glanced at them, his expression quickly changing. Two of the runes were grade 1, but the third was grade 2 and could increase cast speed by 10%. This was an extremely useful rune for any mage. He immediately pulled a chair over and sat down, starting to analyse every activation unit in the design.
He could already be considered a master of rune theory, but even so it took him an entire hour to go through it all. The rune was called Quickthink and approached the idea in a way he hadn’t even imagined, using three entirely new activation units amongst the 23 in total that made it up. This design standard wasn’t far from his own; if not for the curse and low level, Perrin would easily become a grand runemaster in the future.
If one thought about it, this wasn’t even that surprising. This was a true genius who could seek out knowledge about the myriad planes when he was completely in the dark, laying a good foundation for the development of planar geometry in all of Faelor. Perrin’s talent in this specific field surpassed Richard’s own, the access to Norland’s systemised education in mathematics only furthering his view. Even in Norland, his talent as a mathematician would be at the very top of the plane.
Such a pity that he wasn’t even level 10… Without the mana to support, even the most talented runemaster would never be able to go far. Richard noticed a number of issues with the rune design, but every one of them had arisen due to the same reason— a lack of comprehension of how condensed mana worked. Perrin could only use his imagination to substitute for a natural understanding. Without corrections, these designs would never work.
Richard sighed and scanned Perrin with Insight, hoping that there had been some changes to his condition over the past years that gave him a chance to develop. He gasped at the sight, his eyes growing brighter and brighter until they were spitting flames in front of him. The black fog around his heart that came from Runai’s curse was expected— perhaps only Ferlyn could do something about this and even so at an impossibly high cost— but all around it was a wave of timeforce that was constantly eroding away at the divine power; while this wasn’t enough to resist the curse in its entirety, it could at least slow the rate at which he lost his life.
“Were you healed by any priests recently?” he asked.
“No, but in my research into timeforce I went to the Church of the Eternal Dragon twice. It’s just that nobody here can access the power directly ever since Miss Flowsand left… Oh, right! The first time I went, I had the Quickthink design with me. I heard a voice telling me to put the design on the altar, and it sounded like Miss Flowsand’s so I did that. The voice then told me the design wasn’t complete, and to come back when I did finish to offer it completely.”
“Offer it?” Richard was astonished. He hadn’t thought rune designs could be used as offerings, especially at grade 2. Even the weakest he had seen as options during his own ceremonies was grade 3s that had the potential of grade 4.
It was all rather confusing, but he brushed it off and continued, “You’re quite lucky, that should be the will of the Eternal Dragon. You said completely, does that mean you got a partial blessing now?”
“Yes. The voice told me that it would weaken the curse, and that any future extensions to my life would have a greater effect.”
“Huh… That’s good, it looks like we have some hope after all. I thought I’d need to kill Runai entirely, but now it seems like getting her down to a lesser deity should be enough. Now we just need to think of ways to restore the life force you already lost.” Richard opened a little magic-sealing case and pushed it over, “Drink this when you can.”
Perrin took a crystal bottle out of the case, revealing a clear liquid within that held a small section of a branch. An intense aroma assaulted his nostrils the moment he opened it, but the one whiff washed away all of his fatigue. His eyes went wide, “This is…”
“Branch and sap from when a young tree of life first advances. I expected it to give you three more years, but it looks like there will be more than that now.”
“Three years… Isn’t that too precious?”
“This is payment,” Richard waved the designs around.
The two continued talking for a while, mostly discussing rune design and mathematics. Even Richard lost track of time quickly as he immersed himself in the conversation. At this point, Perrin could talk to him on level ground in terms of mathematics. On top of that, he was a font of ideas that were quite inspiring; within a year, he would likely be designing grade 3 runes. While he would only ever be able to come up with designs, that was fine— innovating was much harder in any profession than execution; one could always look for a great runemaster to craft these runes but it was impossible to just find people who could design them. Even Rosie couldn’t compare in this department.
Richard himself found himself learning a lot from the discussion, all three of the designs having piqued his interest. This was especially true for Quickthink; an ordinary rune wouldn’t provoke the Eternal Dragon’s attention. He spent all evening immersed in research, only realising a short while before midnight that the rune’s value wasn’t in the new activation units but in the ordering of the existing ones. The main problem with speed casting was that it required greater mana control, and this rune facilitated that.
With this new inspiration, he immediately came up with ideas that could imitate one of Flowsand’s classic spells— Outburst. No ordinary rune could reach her standards, of course, but it would still be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with his own bloodline ability, Blaze. If the design succeeded, it would be grade 4.
He immediately buried himself in the project, not taking much time to draw a general sketch of the first draft. It was already light when he looked up, and despite the surge of fatigue he skipped to the window and looked at the morning sun with glee.
Few people understood the joy of research and exploration, of coming up with something new. Some respected it, others did not, but only the innovators new just how exhilarating it was to work on the cutting edge. Countless people threw themselves into magic for this very reason; without the contributions of generations of legendary mages, Norland would not be where it was today.
Not finding it in himself to rest, he headed straight into the command centre at the castle. There were still countless things to take care of before a large-scale war, and Zendrall was nearby as well.
The necromancer reached the hall at exactly ten in the morning, and looking him up and down for a while Richard’s gaze dulled, “You still aren’t healed?”
“Not yet, my Lord. I am still someone who deals with souls, even the Eternal Dragon doesn’t take too kindly to me. I can only wait to heal with my own strength.”
“Ugh…” Richard tapped the table softly, grumbling to himself.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA