When it came to Alice, “fulfilling traditions” was a difficult task. Even though this time went much more smoothly than the last few, he needed to activate his truename to quicken the recovery of his energy. It was through pure strength of will that he even managed to remain standing with his wobbly legs.
Overcoming any saint was no easy task, but Alice was a particularly powerful fighter. Thankfully, she had already exhausted herself to the point that she barely managed to put on her clothes. As they tidied up in silence, she turned to him and asked, “When are you leaving?”
“Oh… Why don’t you bring me along this time?”
Richard paused for a moment, “I want to, but you’re the only one who can suppress our enemies in Norland. If the outer shields fall, the portals in Blackrose will be under threat.”
“Sigh, alright, I understand. Don’t worry, this land will always belong to us.”
Richard nodded, his recovering mana now put to use to clean up the study room quickly. Alice blushed and started to help, but she suddenly stopped and asked, “Richard, we’ve mated so many times. Why aren’t I pregnant yet?”
Richard felt a slight shiver in his heart and tried his best to keep it from showing, “I was thinking about that too. Maybe it just didn’t take the last few times.”
“Then… we should try more often,” she said through gritted teeth. She had always felt an impulse to run away whenever she thought about this matter.
However, Richard ignored her reaction while deep in thought about other things. It was common knowledge that powerful beings found it difficult to have children, and it was far too much of a coincidence for none of his partners to get pregnant after all this while. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much research into this subject and especially no solutions. Even with blessings from the Goddess of Fertility, one had to rely largely on luck and mating like lunatics to increase their chances.
For the family head of the Archerons to have such problems was a huge deal. Things would grow very complicated in the future if he didn’t have a qualified descendant of his own, but thankfully there was a silver lining right now. It could also be seen a sign of his extremely powerful bloodline.
This wasn’t the first time he had thought about this, but the problem also partly stemmed from the kinds of women he had been with. Sharon, Flowsand, Alice, and even Rosie to an extent were all powerful themselves, which lowered the chances of success further. Of course, it was possible for an exceptionally powerful bloodline to drain a common mother before they were even born, so that wasn’t the best of options either.
However, many men did end up mating with a multitude of common women; while there was a possibility for either the mother or child or both to die before carriage, there were also quite a few examples of commoners carrying to term successfully. Gaton himself had more than ten concubines, with everyone outside of Elena herself being less than level 10. He had only managed to leave two brothers and four sisters in total, which showed just how difficult it was.
Snapping out of his daze, Richard smiled, “Don’t worry, I’ll think of a solution.”
By this point, Alice had returned to normal as well, “I believe you should find a number of weaker women to increase your chances. Some generals are already discussing your legacy.”
“Heh, I have a thousand years ahead of me or more, this isn’t important right now. If anyone plans to use this to threaten the stability of our family, you should know how to handle them. Your generals have no fucking business interfering.”
“I’ll… give them a warning,” she nodded curtly, quietly heading out of the study.
Looking at her back, Richard suddenly called out, “Wait!”
“Hmm?” she turned around calmly.
“Umm… Sorry. I’ve been in a bad mood with the Scholars, and that was hurtful. I… hope you don’t take it to heart.”
The Archeron war goddess stared at him expressionlessly, short red hair waving around like flames. Richard felt more and more anxious, but it was only when his own gaze started to flicker that she laughed, “Have you never apologised to someone before? Why is it so hard?”
He smiled bitterly. Ever since his mother had burnt herself to death in his youth, he had become a complete introvert who didn’t interact with people unless he needed to. Becoming the ruler of the Archerons had changed that outwardly, but he was just putting on a front of arrogance to cover for a lot of his own shortcomings. With his own blessings and intellect alongside the fact that he mostly ever dealt with his subordinates, he had rarely come across situations where he needed to apologise. It was only with Alice where he was comfortable enough to burst out.
Looking at him lowering his head, Alice sighed, “You’re still just a big boy.”
This comment drew a chuckle from Richard. He was already a saint runemaster at the pinnacle of Norland, but he was just a big boy?
Before he could even react, Alice had walked over and planted a kiss right on his lips. His eyes went wide in shock; with her own past, she was extremely resistant to any sort of intimacy with the opposite sex. This had to be the first time she had taken the initiative to kiss a man in her life.
Of course, things never went that well. Just as he was about to tell her that she was improving, he felt a strong blow to his stomach that stopped both of his hearts instantly. He fell back and clutched his stomach, vision going white with paint.
Alice was immediately dazed, just staring at her left fist in confusion and horror. When she saw the traces of green around him that indicated recovery, her face suddenly went red and she ran out the door.
It took a few minutes for Richard to regain his breath, reactivating his two hearts and healing the internal damage from the blow. He couldn’t even bring himself to be angry; she was clearly trying her best to make progress. In the end, this just affirmed the fact that any intimate contact with her had to be undertaken with his guard up.
Richard meditated until dawn before taking along some rune knights as he headed for the Church of the Eternal Dragon. Faust was a bustling city where people moved around at all times of the day, and everyone saw the numerous chests of offerings he was taking along. Many people thought of robbing him, but it didn’t take long for them to remember just how powerful the Archerons were now. The incident with the blue moon was still fresh in everyone’s minds, and he was bound to have grown more powerful since then.
Thus, although surrounded by fiery gazes, he reached the Church without a single annoyance. Noelene was already waiting for him at the gates, even the grand priestess showing some fervour in her gaze at the number of chests. As the two walked in together, he lowered his voice, “Make sure to do this alone; there’s more offerings than normal.”
“Ten, all top-tier.”
“Ten?!” she hissed, “Alright… I understand, let me make the arrangements.”
“Arrangements?” Richard grew confused, “Can’t we just go in?”
“Jacqueline has arranged for Prince Ryan to host the ceremony with me. He has great talent with timeforce and she thinks he stands a chance to become the next Chosen. She wants to help him accumulate grace as quickly as he can.”
“Jacqueline?” he frowned, “Since when is the appearance of Chosen up to her? How can she even interfere with my ceremonies?”
“With Flowsand having left for the Darkness and the High Priestess gone, there isn’t a Chosen in this church. Any conflicts with the others in this plane will be at a disadvantage, especially since Flowsand used her power to force the Sacred Tree Empire’s hand and forbade them from interfering in Klandor. She also forbade them from providing any aid to the royal family there. Right now, Jacqueline’s ideas are… normal.”
“That can’t be it,” Richard shook his head, “They’re just acting up because you’ve been getting too much grace from my sacrifices.”
Noelene responded to the guess with a bitter smile; her silence was good enough to be acceptance. His frown deepened, “They don’t know that all of your grace was snatched away by Nasia’s summoning?”
Noelene laughed sarcastically, “You think they believe me?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA