Decisions And Details
When Richard returned to his island, even he himself couldn’t believe his harvest this time. Almost everyone had shown interest in the Dragon Plane, each of them purchasing stay for much longer than a month. It showed him that his understanding of the pinnacle experts of Norland was still very shallow; he had assumed that dragons weren’t all that rare and wouldn’t be an interest to planefaring beings, but he was clearly mistaken.
It left him deep in thought. He needed to study the behaviours of these people as he joined their ranks, but Sharon was clearly an outlier. Unlike her, he still needed to walk a steady path. Eventually, he decided to record down the profits and supply requirements of the powerhouses passing through Faelor; hopefully, he could glean some insights from that.
Noting down his thoughts, he then began to calculate his profits from the convention. Including what came from the two saint runes, he totalled about eleven top-tier offerings! His own costs were about a single top-tier offering’s worth in terms of materials for his runes.
In a single go, he had already surpassed Saint Lawrence’s savings, and the Dragon Plane still had much more potential for profits. The legends from the meeting were only making a tentative foray into the plane, but if they made a good profit they would certainly return for more. Moreover, they would certainly choose his route through Faelor.
His conditions had already made it clear that anyone who wanted to steal the coordinates would need to do it in absolute secrecy. A large-scale invasion from another end would be identified and traced back immediately, and the retaliation of dozens of legends would make sure that such an endeavour would be self-destructive. Most people at this level of power knew to look at the long term instead of such immediate profits.
Deep in thought, Richard suddenly hit upon a spark of inspiration. He decided to create a processing factory in Dragon Valley; if those bringing back dead dragons didn’t have the patience to harvest them, the mages on-site would take care of the task for a small fee. Many people would only ever care about the rarest materials, giving him a steady source of the other valuable bits they would leave behind.
He immediately sent Blackgold a letter via remote transmission, stating his plans to recruit eighty to a hundred mages that had basic skills in research and were competent at handling dragon corpses. They would be paid three times what they got in the Deepblue, but that would come with a ten-year contract with no freedom and absolute secrecy.
Despite the rather long period, he wasn’t worried about a lack of candidates. Most mages would jump at the opportunity to come into contact with dragon corpses, the dissection a process that would benefit their own growth. A large number would have taken on the contract even if it offered no pay at all, but then he would need more time to meet his requirements.
For now, he planned to have a fully-functioning service base up and running by the time the first legend stepped back through the portal to the Dragon Plane. However, a number of other ideas started to pop into mind as well. He would need a portal from Bluewater to Dragon Valley; a direct portal to the valley from Blackrose Castle would work as well, but that necessitated a Lighthouse of Time and would be a massive sink of resources.
Should the powerhouses remain in Dragon Valley during their downtime, they would need accommodation as well; their family, friends, or subordinates could also need lodging. There were bound to be a number of saints who wished to try their luck as well, and they could even form the bulk of the inflow in the future.
Studying the terrain of the valley, he circled a section of land next to a mountain stream and started adding some notes. Looking at the land available, he decided to build thirteen separate estates here, each equipped with its own facilities that ranged from foundries to fully-furnished laboratories. Each estate would occupy about a square kilometre in area, with the main manor and surrounding gardens having magic arrays that regulated the climate. It would take a considerable sum to maintain their operation, but that sum was insignificant to those who had just returned with multiple greater offerings.
Since the cost would be reimbursed soon enough, he decided that being grand wasn’t an issue. Each manor would be built in a different style to suit different tastes, and he would block off the stream to build a lake right in the middle of them for water supply. The digging would be a large project for most, but the worker drones could take care of it in three days while subsequent landscaping would only take a week. It would be the manors themselves that needed more time.
He fully planned to put all of his drones to work for this. While the humanoids were great fighters, the Thinker could also direct and micromanage them to make sure they built efficiently. The astral chrysalis could transport all the required materials in a single trip, while the workers would prepare the foundation.
Richard continued adding details to this framework, such as adding rune knights on patrol around the manors. This was completely unnecessary— there were few thieves in existence that would steal from legendary beings— but this stunt would allow departing legends to leave their families behind.
It was deep in the night by the time all of the plans were done, and Richard made sure to memorise it all so he could transmit it to the Thinker and begin work immediately. However, moments after he started to stretch, a brass bell rang out as the old steward knocked on the door, “Master, a gentleman called Martin wishes to see you; he said he is an old friend.”
Martin? Richard frowned at the thought of this former enemy and uneasy ally, “He’s in the lobby? Tell him I’ll be there in a moment.”
A short while later, Richard had changed into formal clothes before walking down to the lobby. Hearing his footsteps, Martin turned away from an oil painting on the wall and smiled, “Why change? It’s so late.”
Richard returned the gesture, “You’re the only saint of the Church of Glory, the next pope. You deserve the respect.”
“Damn that, it’s so boring,” Martin shrugged, “There are even limits on my smiles! My mouth should be angled like so, I should show exactly this much of my teeth. Can you imagine how dull that is?”
Richard raised a brow, “You should be a little more devout, don’t you think?”
Martin wagged a finger and pointed at his own chest, “Faith is here, not in dumb rules and superstitions. Besides, the Radiant Lord doesn’t need my faith; my value is in solving his problems, not hiding in his cathedrals singing hymns.”
“Huh,” Richard looked him in the eye, “Looks like I underestimated you.”
Martin broke into a broad grin, “No, you don’t underestimate anyone. Except, perhaps, the Scholars.”
Richard felt a chill down his spine, but he managed to keep the smile on his face, “What do you mean?”
“Nothing special. Everyone know you can’t trust the lunatics of Soremburg, can you?” the saint acted innocent, as though he had brought up the topic randomly. He walked around the lobby a few times, “Richard…
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Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA