Book 7, Chapter 106

Chase

Looking over the rock with the sword and spear, Richard quickly noticed a small crack in it that perfectly matched the form factor of Godfrey’s dagger. He pointed over and turned to the fat shaman, “So these things are the totems used to summon the other two?”

“Y-Yes, Your Majesty!” the shaman answered nervously.

“It doesn’t look like they were touched.”

“The summoning process doesn’t need them to be removed, necessarily. So long as they’re in the same hall as the altar, the ancestors can use the totems to come here. The dagger was removed by the Son of Gold to use in battle.”

Richard nodded before pointing at the other shamans that had been surrounded by the worker drones, “And they were in charge of the ritual? Has it already begun?”

The fat shaman’s face twitched as he glanced at the roiling pool of blood, “The ceremony… has already begun. In a few days, the two ancestors will… stand up from the blood pool. This cannot be stopped.”

“Nice,” Richard smiled.

“Invader!” one of the other shamans yelled out, “We will never stop the ceremony! When the ancestors descend, you will turn to ash amidst the molten metal!”

“Heh. You know that your so-called King of Steel will destroy the entire Frozen Throne if he returns, right? Regardless of whether he can beat me, all of your citizens will die.”

The old man’s expression twisted, but he gritted out, “It is only justice served on weaklings who do not dare to fight you to the end! They should all die!”

“Huh. Why don’t you pave the path?” Richard nodded, sending a dozen drones swarming on the man. He then turned to Asiris, “Look over the formation and change it a bit; I want to know exactly when the two are going to get here. In fact, I don’t have all that much time to wait for them; make the coordinates a little clearer.”

Asiris answered with an affirmative and flew up to the altar, beginning to study the formation carefully. With its scale, he would likely need a day to analyse it.

The Thinker walked up as well, hunching down and checking every part in detail before moving on to the pool of blood. Taking a few gulps of that, he then started exploring further. A large amount of information was quickly transmitted to Richard’s mind as the blood was analysed with precision greater than Insight’s, showing that a good portion of this blood came from some exceptionally powerful creature. The essence of life within was extremely dense, so much so that even a corpse could be reanimated after throwing it in. Unfortunately, it could only restore the physical body and had no effect on the soul; that meant it only worked in cases where the soul was preserved. The three ancestors of the Iron Triangle Empire used this method so they wouldn’t have to vie with another soul for dominance first.

Richard had read in the imperial records that the core blood for this ceremony came from an ancient race of giant mammoths. The creatures had long lives but were barely fertile, now on the brink of extinction. The Empire had been saving up this blood for centuries, but now they had used all their reserves to summon Lyos and Cyril; Richard didn’t want it to be wasted.

Having said everything he knew, the grand shaman was escorted out of the altar by two shadowspears. In the meanwhile, Richard flew towards the rock with the iron spear and silver sword, planning to study these legendary weapons. However, two of the blades in his case suddenly started vibrating in response to the presence, pulsing desire straight into his mind to devour these weapons.

He was immediately startled, this was something that normally only happened with divine weapons that had souls. Carnage might have been acquired from the Eternal Dragon, but it wasn’t a fully divine weapon itself, and Moonlight had fallen from such status aeons ago. This was a sign of the two evolving, one starting on its path to divine status while the other started its return. Perhaps they had evolved after so much time with him as well.

He pulled out the silver sword, lifting it up to head level to have a close look. The blade looked simple, with no interesting properties outside of the uncommon material. Even calling this thing a magic weapon would be a stretch; if one wasn’t told beforehand, it was hard to believe this was a legend’s weapon.

However, the golden dagger made it clear that things weren’t as simple as they seemed. Richard checked the material of the sword and found that it was somewhat similar to mithril, and just like the auvitrum this blade hid some special material as well. Unknown materials were far more valuable than mere legendary items, especially to a mage who could experiment and learn from the new.

Carnage started buzzing as he continued to observe, seemingly growing impatient with the passing time. On the other hand, Moonlight quieted down, its interest seeming to have waned. Breaking off the sword’s tip and stowing it away, Richard pulled out Carnage and placed it on what was left. His eyes went wide as numerous tendrils shot out of the outer jagged blade, wrapping tightly around the silver sword until both were wound together like a cocoon. From the looks of it, it would take a few days for the weapons to combine.

The iron spear looked even more ordinary than the sword, even having some stains and rust on the surface. However, that only made things more interesting. This altar room was very humid, and a spear that could rust would have turned to dust over the millennium.

As he started probing further, he found that the spear had a vast internal world within it. The structure was extremely peculiar, similar to enchanted iron but not quite the same and yet changing constantly. It took a period of analysis to find the rhythm of these changes, and exploring further he was surprised to find a crystal core within. It was tiny but active, rushing around the interior of the spear and changing its makeup. This seemed to be a rudimentary consciousness that absorbed the excess energy of the metal, eliminating any rust it found.

The core sensed his consciousness the moment it arrived, starting to dodge with extraordinary speed, but despite some trouble Richard had grown used to such tasks long ago. After a long chase, he figured out the pattern to its movements and managed to position his web in a location where it would get caught. The core barely brushed past his mental tendrils at first, but things quickly grew more dangerous and it was eventually captured.

Richard smiled when he finally accomplished the task; the chance of catching the thing was one in a few thousand, and he had taken more than a thousand tries to succeed. Opening his eyes, he suddenly felt a wave of fatigue wash over him. Looking around, a hundred shadowspears were formed up in a circle while Asiris and Zangru were waiting by the side.

“What’s going on?” he asked while trying to get up. However, his knees immediately buckled at the attempt and he had to catch his breath; there seemed to be no mana inside him at all.

“You have been here for three entire days, my Lord,” Asiris said with a bow, “We didn’t dare disturb you, so we waited with some guards.”

“Three days? Ugh, I need some mana potions,” he grunted, “Anyway, what about the altar?”

“I have everything prepared. I can quite accurately direct what time the two legends will arrive at, and with the extra time I added a curse formation that will stop them from sensing any danger until they merge into their new bodies.”

“Good. Anyway, change of plans. Set the time of return for seven days; I’ll have a couple surprises ready by then.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA