Hearing that Duke Zabal wanted veto power, Richard’s sneer disappeared entirely, “You want to split the Empire with me.”
Zabal laughed heartily, “Of course not! You conquered the Iron Triangle Empire, of course it belongs to you! As long as Salwyn doesn’t make any decisions to harm me, I won’t interfere with matters of the state.”
These were childish words. One could calculate benefits financially alone, but control was a form of wealth as well. Zabal clearly wanted to insert himself into the greater continent. Even with his own breadth of ambition, Richard froze for a moment at the sheer greed before calming himself down, “You really have the appetite, but what about ability? Do you match up?”
“You must have heard of the Dragon Church?”
“Yes, Rislant fought them for decades without results. Why, are you related to them?”
“Haha, not to them. But the dragon behind them, that thing is closely related to me!”
Interest piqued, Richard leaned forward, his eyes sparkling with the excitement of a hunter seeing new prey, “There really is a dragon?”
“An ancient foreign dragon!” Zabal said in a deep voice, emphasising the word foreign and chuckling to himself at Richard’s reaction. No matter what people said, a sub-legendary mage was bout to be more interested in power than land. Dragons were powerful beings, and they only grew more powerful with age. As for the word foreign, it was as close as he could get to saying another plane without actually using the word.
Zabal fell silent after saying this, giving Richard time to digest the news. They didn’t talk for fifteen minutes before the silence was interrupted by a bell, prompting the Duke to smile, “The servants have finished their preparations, it would be an honour to share a meal with you.”
As they walked to the dining room, Zabal showed another of his cards; the special items he mentioned at the start. He was willing to trade in draconic eggshells, bones, hide, and many more such things. He even claimed he could get Richard a dragon crystal, something that reduced the impact of mana on one’s body and thus extended a mage’s lifespan.
The Duke was very confident in his offer; indeed, dragons were rare in Faelor and almost no one would be able to obtain them. This was enough to sate an entire mage association, tempting even a legendary mage. However, he didn’t know that such things were only normal for Richard. There were millions of planes in existence, and when summed up dragons weren’t even particularly rare beings.
Zabal made it a point to serve himself, trying to get Richard to pay attention to the feast that he had arranged. Richard looked at him and smiled ambiguously, gaze turning to the table that was filled with dishes that emphasized the roasted dragon in the centre.
The Duke proudly described that this was real dragon meat, but a single glimpse showed him that it came from a green dragon. Green dragons were the lowest of all dragon species, only considered intelligent after adulthood. Even one that was thousands of years old wouldn’t qualify to be placed on Philip’s dining table.
Thinking of the late Emperor, Richard couldn’t help but take a deep breath in nostalgia. Black, red, copper… he had eaten tonnes of meat from some of the best species when under Philip’s care. Compared to that, this mere kilogram couldn’t even fill a small corner of his stomach.
“This is… memorable,” Richard looked down, as though he was scrutinizing the meat on his plate. However, while Zabal fluffed up further, a sneer crept up on his own face. It had become clear why a trained general like Rislant had failed to annihilate the Dragon Church despite decades fighting them; he had been fighting another plane.
Not noticing the sneer, Zabal leaned forward, “Now, you know what I offer: dragons and another plane related to them with at least one legendary being. Does this not put me on the same level as you? Think about it, I’ve given you enough even in this trade; dragon crystals are legendary items! You Grace, it is time for you to make your decision.”
Dragon crystals truly were nice, but Richard was still under the blessing of the Eternal Dragon and could push his youth further in the Church of the Eternal Dragon. To him, these benefits were negligible. However, he smiled, “Is it finally my turn? Good, I think the Pearl Necklace can officially secede from the Iron Triangle Empire…”
Was Richard offering support for an independent kingdom? Zabal’s face lit up with glee, but he said with reservation, “This does not feel like the right time, but it isn’t—”
“I’m really interested in these dragons and the foreign plane. I’m taking over this territory, you can get lost with your family within three days. If you’re still here afterwards, don’t blame me for the purge.”
“Huh?” Zabal grew confused, “Wait, what did you just say?”
Richard pointed at the table, dome, servers, and even the guards, “I said, all this? It’s mine now. Get the fuck out now, or you’re going to die.”
“You…” Zabal started laughing, “Hahahahaha, Richard, I think you’re still confused. Do you expect to be able to make it out in one piece after coming here? No matter how many soldiers can march on me, you’re going to die!”
The Duke slammed the dining table, causing the hall to buzz with draconic roars as the magic arrays on the walls lit up. Teleportation was immediately blocked off.
Although the hall was enormous, its walls were thick and the windows only a quarter the width of normal ones. The window frames were even filled with magic arrays, and they clearly weren’t just decorations. The dome was made from hard stone as well, so with the doors closed this place was a natural cage. Luring Richard here seemed to be part of the plan.
There were eight double doors in total that allowed entry to this room, and soldiers in enchanted armour streamed in through each one. The entire hall filled up with warriors, mages, and some warlocks in exotic attire; these were the disciples of the Dragon Church. This was a group of hundreds that were all level 10 or above, some of the leaders even equivalent to Norland saints.
However, Richard stayed where he was and didn’t move, not even making an attempt to take out any scrolls. The Dragon Church stopped a mere ten metres away from him, a distance at which ordinary mages would be stabbed full of holes before they could do anything at all. Even a legendary mage likely wouldn’t be able to cast something like Time Stop in this space either.
“I recall you’re a mage, Your Grace. In a situation like this, even legends can do nothing! What do you think of these troops of mine? It’s best you reconsider my suggestion just now, I’m giving you ten seconds. I’m such a generous person, heh!”
Richard’s voice cut through the crazed laughter spreading to every corner of the hall, “Looks like you’ve planned well.”
“But of course! Even without you, I was planning on entering the political arena soon enough. I’ve made ample prepara—”
“But why do I only see corpses?”
And then, it was a rain of blood.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: WQ
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA