Book 7, Chapter 72

Mysterious Machinery

Once the doomsday imprint flew into Richard’s hands, the doors to the back hall shut immediately; it was evident that there wouldn’t be any further contact. Richard turned towards Noelene, absorbed in his own thoughts, “That felt like a conscient, not the High Priestess herself.”

Noelene nodded, “Her Excellency has already set off on a journey far away. I didn’t know of this conscient before, but it triggered once you entered the church and sent me a message.”

“Where did she go?” he asked curiously.

“I… cannot say.”

Having expected this, Richard didn’t press further. Thinking for a moment, he asked a different question, “Alright, I’m going to Faelor soon. Is there anything you need me to do?”

“Nothing for now… You seem to be making more enemies.”

“That’s inevitable,” he smiled.

Noelene looked at him with a hint of concern in her eyes, “Be careful. I’ve been trying to scry into your future repeatedly, but all I can sense is that a great danger is approaching you. It’s been by your side for so long that it has almost merged into your existence, but I cannot pinpoint what it is.”

“Hmm… I think I have an idea,” Richard furrowed his brows. She had probably seen the nightmare creatures, but he didn’t understand why. Was there a problem with Sharon’s seal? Unfortunately, the vagueness of the prophecy left a lot of room for speculation; he could only keep an eye out. Turning to leave the shrine, he suddenly thought of something, “Do you have enough divine grace?”

Noelene forced a smile, “Enough for now, don’t worry. The Turing Family is offering a sacrifice in a few days, I’ll get some more then.”

He nodded, “I’ll try to come up with some as soon as I can.”

“It’s a minor matter. Just do what you normally do, no need to worry about me.”

……

When he was back on the island, Richard immediately headed for the laboratory. Placing the doomsday imprint on the table, he started inspecting it close-up. The object was now a clear crystal ball with some sort of dark metal floating within, and it even responded to energy input unlike before. He didn’t know how Ferlyn had removed the outer shell, but it could now be studied.

After a few tries, he realised that there was no specific limit to what type of energy the imprint could absorb. The first bit of mana he inserted caused the metal within to quiver as though some sort of alchemical machine had been activated, and as he increased his output the vibrations sped up. By the time he was pouring a full grand mage’s worth of mana into the object, it started emitting an orange glow from the depths of the metal that was now starting to crack. The outer shell opened up like a flower, a finger’s worth of the metal floating out and starting to spread.

This was no metal piece, it was a machine! Richard’s eyes immediately lit up as he activated Insight, trying to capture every intricate detail of the machine’s working. However, it only maintained the flower form for a second before it started transforming once more, going through hundreds of different shapes in only a few minutes. Each of the metal pieces was made of dozens of smaller sections, and as he focused on these sections he found that they were subdivided further and further until he couldn’t even keep track. The components were also splitting up and rejoining at a rapid pace, so he couldn’t pinpoint what the smallest unit was.

This was a mysterious machine that seemed to have its own soul, switching between different forms at a constant pace. Richard could barely even notice the transformations at the smallest scale, and that was on the assumption that there wasn’t anything further below. Numbers filled his field of vision, the deluge of data so vast that he couldn’t find any pattern to it at all. He didn’t even know if his vision was precise enough to glean everything that mattered.

He quickly concluded that the doomsday imprint and so-called reapers followed a system of laws that was completely foreign to him, a situation somewhat similar to Sharon’s balance. While Ferlyn had said he could begin analysing the thing, it would be far more difficult than anything he had ever tried.

Eventually, he was just too dizzy to continue. Forced to withdraw from his state of Insight, he looked at the clock and discovered that less than ten minutes had passed since he began. His mana and stamina had been drained utterly in such a short time, while the blessings he valued so much proved inadequate. By the time he turned back to the imprint, it had reverted to looking like a harmless crystal ball. Finding a magic-sealing case for the object and carefully placing it within, he sat down to recover.

While he was feeling exceptionally tired, Richard felt faintly that his blessing of truth was on the verge of a breakthrough. This was an unexpected surprise; while Wisdom had grown rapidly as he continued to command larger and larger armies, Truth had barely even changed in all this time.

……

Richard had only recovered half of his mana by dawn, but he still set off for Faelor. Fifteen days had already passed in the short day and a half that he had spent in Faust, and Bluewater had changed greatly in this time. His followers, saints, and generals had all gathered together, and news of it had already spread far and wide. Many local kings had learnt that he was about to do something big, and considering his previous achievements they knew that this meant war with an empire or a god.

The news stirred a lot of unrest, with various popes and rulers meeting in secret before sending envoys out to try and strike agreements with the Crimson Dukedom in secret. These envoys had one goal and one goal only; ensure that they weren’t the targets of Richard’s conquest.

……

Mirrorlake Castle was considered by far to be the most beautiful castle within the Sequoia Kingdom. Located in the heart of the Grasberg Dukedom, it was known for its beautiful view and exquisite design. The castle itself had little in the way of defensive capabilities outside of what nature afforded it, but on the shore was a barracks with almost a thousand infantry soldiers and Duke Grasberg’s elite cavalry.

Part of the castle’s upper levels were considered a special zone, consisting of a living room, bedroom and study that was almost isolated from the rest. The carpet here was a faint blue unlike the deep red everywhere else, and be it the servants or soldiers, everyone would lower their voices the moment they entered it. A few fully-armed soldiers were stationed at the entrances to this wing, their badges showing the crest of the Sequoia Kingdom itself instead of the Grasberg Family.

Within the spacious bedroom was a luxurious bed, currently occupied by an unreasonably pale young man whose defining characteristic was his obesity. This was one of Duke Grasberg’s grandsons, the one with unicorn blood flowing in his veins who was in the process of awakening. This was Viscount Zim.

Two young nobles were outside the door of the bedroom, discussing the political climate in the mainland. Richard summoning his troops was the largest issue in Faelor right now, and their conversation was thus centred around it.

“I hear the Crimson Duke is planning war? He’s summoned all of his strongest warriors.”

“Yes, Duke Richard has so many guardian-level warriors under him. Who knows who he’ll be pointing his sword at now.”

The conversation was lively, and despite their location the two were speaking in fairly loud voices as they listed all of the known sub-legendary experts under Richard. Nobody noticed Zim’s furrowed brow in the bedroom, the viscount starting to mutter in his sleep, “Richard… summoning… strong… warriors…”

These words were repeated over and over, Zim’s breathing growing hurried.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA