Book 7, Chapter 128

Battle In The Valley

With everyone in agreement about the death of the apprentice, the acting lord of the castle continued, “The message had more pleasant surprises in store. The discovered broodmother has already used the soul-mending plan and completed it, and it was the most recent version as well. However, we only received half of this information, and it is impossible to tell what was lost.”

Everyone grew excited. Each of them knew of the backdoor in the soul-mending project, which meant they would have direct access to this broodmother’s soul. There was a good chance for them to take control of it for themselves, which was much more valuable than having to devise a method to do so from scratch.

While they still couldn’t decide on just how to use the broodmother, all of them agreed that they had to take control of her as quickly as possible. As for the one who had sent the message, nobody even tried to think of who it could have been. This was intentional, another way to sever the strings of fate.

Once the decision had been made, it was now time to go into details. Someone asked about the current situation in Faelor, and the acting lord of the castle glanced at Grand Scholar Rhodey who took out a stack of papers, “The person currently in control of Faelor is a duke of the Sacred Alliance… Ah, only a future duke, actually. He doesn’t have the title yet. His name is Richard Archeron.”

“Archeron?” a wavering shadow interrupted him, “That sounds demonic. Wren, you spent some centuries in the abyss; do you know about it?”

“Barely a powerful family. They might have given rise to some lords in the past, but it was a handful over tens of millennia.”

The shade nodded, “Then we have no need to worry about their destiny. We can balance it out.”

“We might have to consider the Alliance itself,” someone interrupted, “Apeiron is a troublesome woman, we will have to compensate her for her to pull support.”

“Apeiron is also very greedy, just satisfy her. Regardless of what she demands, the broodmother is worth the investment.”

“Mm, we can make up for a part of it from Richard, perhaps even the entirety.”

“Do we have detailed information about him?”

“It is said that he will become a saint runemaster soon, we should consider a more gentle approach.”

“There are many people who are about to become saint runemasters, only a handful ever get there. Unless he succeeds, it is pointless.”

“Hmm...” Rhodey took out another stack of papers, “We also have some information about Faelor. It is his personal plane and not much information leaks out, but he recruited mages on a large scale a few years ago and we managed to get a few informants out of that group. He has only been managing the plane for a decade or so, but he’s been lucky and capable in that time. He currently rules the Crimson Dukedom that is on the verge of becoming an independent country, and he has religions on his side as well. As for profits…

“Most of his profits come from mines and rare resources, but he also sells mounts to the Alliance… The estimated earnings are over 10 million gold a year! And his other planes combined earn a similar total, but two of them have been advancing quickly. They will reach Faelor’s level soon. 

“That income is…” the giant beast couldn’t finish, but everyone knew what he wanted to say. Richard’s income already totalled a fourth of what their own organisation possessed, and in a few years would grow to half. The Scholars of Soremburg shared their resources and had been managing them for nearly a millennium!

“Our resources have been drying up in the past century, and our new planes have not been developing quickly. The lack of materials is starting to affect research, this might be a chance.”

“I have a suggestion,” the old mage spoke up, “We should take Richard in; he is still someone with potential. Many things will work out smoothly in that scenario, and offering some materials for our development will only be natural.”

“Those resources will only be wasted on passion with him, our research progresses all of Norland. Considering the grand scheme of things, it will be necessary for us to manage those resources on his behalf.”

“With better offerings, our studies on the Eternal Dragon will progress as well!”

Soon, everyone had expressed their agreement and the resolution was passed. However, Rhodey spoke up to remind them all, “Richard is a student of Sharon, she’s a troublesome woman. And considering the past, he himself has an unyielding personality as well. Our… persuasion might meet a wall.”

Someone who had been silent all this while spoke up, “I have my own guesses about Sharon’s race. If I’m correct, I can leak some information that will put her in quite a bit of trouble.”

“Sharon is one of the premier powerhouses of Norland!” someone raged immediately, “You’re thinking of weakening the entire plane!”

The previous figure shook its head, “Her personal problems are not something for us to worry about. What is more important, her or the broodmother and resources?”

The dissenter snorted, but didn’t say anything.

“As for Richard, we have many ways of making him yield. It might not even come to war, although that is the last resort. Perhaps Hastings will be useful.”

The meeting came to an end, and only the old mage and Rhodey were left in the room. The mage looked at the crest of book and pen in the centre of the hall, speaking only after a few minutes, “I’ll leave him to you.”

“Of course,” Rhodey nodded before turning to leave the hall. Even afterwards, the acting lord of the castle continued to stare at the symbol of the Scholars for a long time.

……

Back in Faelor, Richard had already stopped outside the valley for three days. He had no idea of the decisions made in a demiplane far far away, of the invisible web that was slowly being wrapped around him. Still waiting for his army to assemble for the next battle, he was working on analysing the laws from Shattler.

Perhaps it was because of his elven blood or his prior analysis of the laws of life, but his progress was far smoother than with the laws of metal. Shattler’s illusion laws were quite surface-level, powerful in battle but imitable by a grand illusionist. He estimated that it would only take a week to achieve an elementary understanding of their working, greatly improving his ability to hide him from even powerful opponents. At that point, even saints wouldn’t be able to sense his movements easily.

Strangely enough, things were quite silent in the valley itself. The draconians continued on as though nothing had happened, and there wasn’t particularly a surge of more troops either. Five more days passed by in the blink of an eye, and a hundred rune knights as well as 1,500 shadowspears were now ready for the assault.

On a plain a short distance away from the valley, he gave his followers their own missions and smiled, “Finally, we’re getting lucky with these things. The gods must have caught on to the teleportation and delayed it or something, the messenger still hasn’t appeared. I expected we would need to go on the offence, but an ambush should work just fine. Let’s destroy them!”

With his command, a few flying chrysalides escorted each of his followers individually into the sky while the rest brought his soldiers to the mouth of the valley. The army would use the distance to charge at full speed, while the followers took out any saints on the enemy side.

The draconians promptly sounded the alarms when they discovered the flying chrysalides, grabbing their weapons and rushing out. A number of saints rose to the skies to meet the threat head-on, auras flaring in threat.

Some of Richard’s followers smiled; this opponent was a complacent one, revealing itself without any effort needed on their part. Faelor had been far too easy an opponent for them, and they had lost their vigilance. The sky flashed with light of various colours as both sides clashed, draconians falling down one after the other. The three assassins of Phaser, Zangru, and Waterflower seemed to flicker in and out of existence, killing their targets in mere seconds.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA