A Pact For The Peak
Richard looked at three duchies that were marked on the map, “Gangdor, Tiramisu, take fifty rune knights and 500 shadowspears. I’ll give you the astral chrysalis and a hundred flying chrysalides, you have three days for each.”
“No problem, Boss!” Gangdor grinned.
“I hate the chrysalis!” Tiramisu muttered resentfully, “And Gangdor too.”
Richard chuckled, “The chrysalis was just upgraded, you don’t need to use any spells or get carried under it this time. And you know what? Choose one of the dukes, you can lead the battle there. How’s that?”
The corners of the ogre’s lips turned up, “Yes, Master!”
Once the troop mobilisations were taken care of, Richard suddenly got a message from the broodmother, “Are you a saint runemaster already, Master?”
“Yes,” Richard answered.
“In that case, I think we should meet once for a good discussion. I hope I can see you as soon as possible.”
This request confused Richard a little. With the cloned brains as relays, he and the broodmother could communicate no matter how far apart they were. Delays were sometimes a problem, but the Land of Turmoil was very close to the Frozen Throne at only a few thousand kilometres away; there was no need for them to meet at all.
However, he gave it some thought and agreed, “Alright, I’ll leave in the afternoon.”
“I’ll have one of the cloned brains pick you up.”
The cloned brains flew very quickly at over 150 kilometres an hour, much faster than griffins and even wyverns. With escape in mind, the broodmother had designed them to sustain such flight for three hours straight.
“Alright, we’ll meet soon,” he answered calmly.
Richard was nearly 5,000 kilometres away from the broodmother’s larval nest, so he got on the first of the cloned brains right after lunch and started his journey. The creature flew more than 400 kilometres before meeting another one that was already lying in wait, ready to take over for the depleted drone. Three more hours later, another brain was lying in wait. The broodmother was very meticulous when it came to such arrangements; in terms of pure logistics alone, she was far beyond Richard himself.
Sitting on the cloned brain, Richard closed his eyes and meditated without thinking too much about what she wanted him for. He continued analysing the laws of metal, planning to supplement Kingsteel with his own understanding to improve its power.
The soul remnant from Lyos had its limits, but Nasia had boosted him with War Fanatic twice in his war on the Iron Triangle Empire. He had forced the feeling into his memory using Wisdom both times, and calling upon those memories made it much easier for him to improve rapidly. He estimated he would need only seven days to finish analysing what should have taken three to five years. At that point, he would be able to control metals completely without the rune, even if that was to limited effect and range.
Even flying continuously, it took more than a day to reach the Land of Turmoil. Richard spent this entire time meditating and analysing the laws of metal, his attention only broken when he had to switch mounts.
The Land of Turmoil now seemed even more mysterious and strange than everybefore. The larval forest extended for hundreds of kilometres, all of the trees linked to the underground nests directly. The roots now went hundreds of metres deep, constantly absorbing power from the depths of the plane to supply the needs of the dozen incubation nests.
One couldn’t even see too far into the distance; black smoke filled the air and affected the natural light, distorting the image of the forest. The only light that pierced through came from the rifts in spacetime, a phenomenon that had grown many times in number since he had first come across it. The black smoke seemed to writhe around the ribbons of timeforce, coiling constantly. It even seemed able to affect the rifts and guide them wherever it wanted them to go.
When he saw this scene, Richard had the cloned brain stop in the sky for a moment. Activating Field of Truth, he noticed the spatial fabric around the Land of Turmoil was being ripped apart, the crystal sphere no longer able to stop the erosion of the spatial storms from the void. This was all a result of the broodmother and her production; her flood of drones could only be supplied by a constant drain on the depths of the world.
The most striking monument in this entire forest was a spiralling platform that towered three hundred metres into the sky, supported by hundreds upon hundreds of trunks. The platform itself was more than half a kilometre long in an oblong shape; big enough for the broodmother to relax on.
“Master, I’m so happy to see you!” As he got down on the platform, the broodmother’s compound eyes started glowing as she brandished her hilariously small pincers. It looked like the excitement of a child, but with them constantly flickering one couldn’t tell whether this was emotion or just another process. The pincers continued to chatter as she spoke, “This meeting is very important to me, and I hope I’m very important to you.”
Richard stared the broodmother in the eyes as he walked towards her, feeling like an ant standing before an elephant. He felt something crack deep in his soul, as though a part of him had been ripped away. In reality, that part had disappeared a long time ago; it was only now that he had been allowed to notice. He said slowly, “There’s no need to call me master, is there?”
“If we’re talking about the soul restrictions, then yes, there isn’t a need,” she answered straightforwardly, but there was no soul communication. Her mouth moved visibly to make these sounds, not in a general communication of ideas but Norland Common.
“The dragon never mentioned that you would free yourself when I got you.”
“All rules have loopholes. The Eternal Dragon isn’t omnipotent, and anyone who sets their mind to it can find a few…” She paused for a moment before continuing ruefully, “Norland’s humans are truly daring.”
Richard felt a sense of familiarity from the broodmother’s words, quickly realising that it came from a famous saying of the Scholars of Soremburg. However, he had never given her this kind of information.
“You severed your bond to me,” he muttered.
“Not exactly; I completed my soul. I’m now a complete being, and I don’t need to depend on you to survive.”
Richard’s mind was left a stormy mess, but he tried to maintain a face of calmness. He calmly asked how she had managed to mend her soul, a topic anyone would be interested in.
The answer was surprisingly detailed, and with his interest piqued Richard continued to ask questions. The broodmother answered whatever she knew, hiding nothing at all right into the night and dawn.
From a mage’s perspective, the soul-mending plan was ingenious. Some parts of it were awe-inspiring, clearly not completed by a single person alone. This was likely the work of multiple Scholars of Soremburg working over generations to come up with a viable project. The broodmother had used it to convert a massive number of souls into a true soul for herself. She was likely one of a handful in all of history.
There was no question that the soul-mending plan had come from Raymond. Richard had allowed the broodmother to control his life and monitor him, but he had never thought that he would still have such a plan at hand. The broodmother could even test the feasibility after advancing to level 10 and awakening her truename, compelling her to leave Richard’s side.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA