Loss And Determination
“You… actually…” With the dagger stuck in his heart, Raymond couldn’t even form full sentences from the shock.
“Killing you really isn’t what’s best for me,” Richard remarked, but then he shook his head, “But why would you think I’d act like you?”
“You…” Raymond’s shock gradually turned into understanding. He seemed to have something to say, but bloody froth started to spew out of his mouth until he couldn’t say a word.
Reyna paled and tried to jump to his aid, but after a single step she stopped herself and bit at her own hand to stop herself from crying. The other hand brushed across her abdomen.
Richard continued to match Raymond’s dying gaze. Even at the end of his life, the Scholar remained almost ruthlessly calm, as though his own death wasn’t worthy of emotions. However, a blue spark suddenly launched out from Richard’s finger and burnt through Reyna’s womb, jumping out the other side before disappearing through the wall.
The princess exclaimed in shock, all colour draining from her face as she looked down at the cauterized wound. This injury wasn’t really serious for someone at her level, but seeing its location she screamed in despair. Richard ignored her completely, continuing to look at Raymond, “A month old, about the time since the broodmother told you to have children. Did you really think you could just shift your soul and memories into a newborn and I wouldn’t realise it? Just die already, no need to look so confused. You bastards aren’t the only ones who can see the truth of the world.”
Raymond finally closed his eyes, the moment of anguish and questioning fading away. Richard pulled out the dagger and let his corpse fall to the ground, watching it in confusion. Almost a decade of his life this man had fought him both openly and in secret, but things had finally come to an end. It was actually a little frustrating; in many ways, this wasn’t much different from losing a close friend.
However, there were other things to be done. Shaking his head, he looked at Reyna, “I’ve already called for priests, they’ll tend to your injuries. You’re still welcome to remain here.”
She didn’t even respond. Her face had gone blank the moment Richard brought up Raymond’s plans, and right now she was just staring at the floor while clutching her belly. She had felt that things would turn out this way long, long ago, back when she had first made a deal. Raymond had never truly lost before, and she knew he wasn’t the type to take one sitting down. Even after revealing his betrayal, he had lied to her in the guise of granting her wish for children.
But then, did it even matter? That was still a child in her that had been taken away.
Richard sighed and left the room, quickly resuming his journey to Bluewater. A few priests entered and began to check on Reyna’s injuries, casting some healing spells on her while she sat in a daze.
As he returned to Faust, Richard felt a strong sense of loss. It was as though something was missing. While Raymond himself couldn’t understand it, this outcome was only logical to someone who knew that there were things more important than profit. However, Raymond’s death also severed his one connection to the Scholars of Soremburg, a group he had been planning to study over time.
Ever since the events of Klandor, the Scholars had seemed to express a certain amount of goodwill and considered the war with Raymond to be a personal feud. Richard had still remained on guard for a long time, but with the passing of the years Raymond had actually used his lowered guard to rattle his very foundations.
Thankfully, there were still some things to gain from this experience. Richard now knew that the Scholars were a group of emotionless lunatics who wouldn’t mind stooping to any level to accomplish their goals. He had hoped it was otherwise, that they were a group worth cooperating with, but the entire situation with Reyna had proved him wrong.
So many years had passed, and if one ignored the soul-mending plan Raymond had actually worked miracles in Faelor. From managing Bluewater to planning logistics to acting as Andrieka in Richard’s absence, he had done everything almost perfectly. As the administrator of a plane, he was perhaps better than Richard himself, experienced from the Josephs’ planes and possessing great talent. From a lord’s prospective, there could be no better candidate to manage an important plane.
However, after all these years and so many enemies, Raymond was the only one who had come close to killing him twice. The man had even trapped Gaton in the Rosie Plane with unknown methods. If only…
Richard pushed the matter to the back of his head, handing a few letters to the old butler before sending a message to ask Nyris to visit. By the time he got some paperwork done, Nyris had already rushed over.
Looking the Fourth Prince up and down, Richard sighed with disappointment, “You’re wasting away.”
“Every day is a year, how couldn’t I?” Nyris smiled wryly, but then his expression filled with hesitation and he stuttered, “I… I’m preparing to get engaged to Lady Macy. I… I…”
“Macy? One sec,” Richard shot up and pulled out a book from his shelf, flipping through it until he found what he was looking for, “Hmm… Empress Gelan’s granddaughter, huh… Her father is Prince Tumen… That should be on par with the Ironblood Duke. She’s considered powerful too, and a beauty to boot. Her status shouldn’t be much lower than yours, especially about now… Not bad!”
“Richard!” Nyris shouted, “You… I don’t want that woman!”
“Hmm?” Richard frowned, “Don’t like her? Is there a reason?”
“I… Sigh, I just don’t. Do I really need a reason for it?”
Richard sighed as well. When it came to political marriages, affection rarely played a role. However, he still nodded, “Alright then, but I heard you’re not in a good position right now.”
He didn’t elaborate, but the meaning was clear. Empress Apeiron had constantly been venting on Philip’s harem, already having found excuses to execute three of his concubines without so much as a peep from their children and families. Neil had gone to the Empire’s various planes to develop them, while Ryan was already showing talent after entering the Church. Nyris was the only one not even trying to defend himself.
For a prince’s marriage to be political was only expected; it would in fact be strange if it wasn’t. All things considered, Macy was a really good choice, and her background would protect his family as well. No matter how crazy Apeiron was, she wouldn’t make an enemy of the Millennial Empire over pettiness.
However, Nyris’s head remained low. Richard suddenly thought of a possibility, “You love someone, don’t you.”
Nyris froze up, only nodding after a long time. Richard sighed, standing up and pacing around the room with a frown, “Then things will be a little tricky. Handle this badly and you’ll face pressure from both Her Majesty Apeiron and the Millennial Empire. Who’s the other party?”
Nyris shook his head slowly but resolutely, making himself clear— he wouldn’t say.
Richard didn’t force him either, taking a few more steps before turning around to sit in front of him and look this good friend in the eye, “What do you need me to do?”
The Fourth Prince’s breathing suddenly grew hurried, and he didn’t dare to meet Richard’s gaze. His eyes flitted around as he mumbled, “You promised… You’d protect me… Does that still count?”
“Of course!” Richard smiled.
Nyris’s eyes went wide, “Even if… that means becoming enemies with Her Majesty?”
“I mean, I don’t want to, but I’m not condoning everything she does either,” Richard said calmly.
Nyris seemed to make up his mind, his face blooming into a radiant smile as he stood up, “Thank you, Rich. Don’t worry about me, I thought this through. I’ll get engaged to Macy.”
Having said this, he turned around and left.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA