Book 7, Chapter 180

Midren

Nasia laughed at Richard’s confusion, “I was offering the thing to myself, why would I need an altar? I just have to convert and absorb it personally, that was just a surface to put it on. It also made it look a bit more grand and official. Anyway, here’s my new ability, take a good look! Don’t forget to keep searching for offerings and giving them to me.”

Before Richard could even respond, his mind was filled with a plethora of details about the evolution of War Fanatic. Just as she had stated before, it became War King and greatly raised the defence, strength, mana, and many other attributes of the target. Effectively, it was like gaining two or even more levels, although legends would only gain one. Of course, even that one level was mind-numbingly powerful. Even just the difference between level 21 and 22 was vast.

The reason the ability changed to War King was because there was another aspect to the buff now. Outside of one’s own boost, the target could also cast up to ten instances of War Construct on their own soldiers. This made them roughly equivalent to a level 18 battle priest in terms of impact on the battlefield; they would temporarily gain a squad of immensely powerful subordinates to aid them.

War Fanatic was already powerful, but War King went well beyond it into unthinkable. A number of his followers were now sky saints, and any one of them with this spell upon them would be able to battle ordinary legends.

“And Prisoner of War?” he asked with interest.

“Oh, not much of a difference. The casting time was halved and the number of layers went from four to seven.”

Not much of a difference? Richard almost wanted to smack her in the head. A legend with Prisoner of War cast on them would drop from level 21 to 14 if they couldn’t resist the ability; against a level 18 Nasia, they would be defeated before they could blink. This mysterious woman had just turned from astonishing to frightening; even now, he had no idea what she wanted, what her goals were, and just how one was meant to control her. As someone who generally liked to be prepared for things, it felt extremely uncomfortable.

Thankfully, Dragon Valley was now definitely safe. Outside of the Celestial Sage and Empress Apeiron, even the other legends involved were likely no match for Nasia.

……

With the war against Runai having ended in the mortal realm, Richard didn’t have any pressing matters to attend to. With this rare time for leisure, he immediately engrossed himself in studying the King of Angels, Midren.

Within his laboratory, he had arranged three designs on the table. The first was the incomplete original design that he had gotten from Martin, some sections of it lost to time. The next was what he had pieced together based on that incomplete version and the fragments, slightly deviant from the original design but at least complete. Following these two was the battle edition that he had acquired from the Eternal Dragon for a full ten top-tier offerings.

All three designs came from the same place, but they possessed different levels of strength and were each independent. However, putting them in a row like this, it was clear that the battle version was not the end of the road. While the three designs were spaced evenly amongst themselves, he had left a gap for a fourth version after the battle edition: Midren’s perfect form.

To date, this was the only rune design he had seen over level 5. Compared to the perfect version, all three other Midren designs seemed significantly weaker; looking from the fragments, however, one could also stand a chance to peek into the world of grade 6 runes.

He had already finished a cursory analysis of the battle edition. The rune set wasn’t a grade 5 set in the traditional sense; to him, it felt like the concept of a grade 6 rune that had been dumbed down to fit grade 5 techniques.

With the Deepblue Aria as a point of comparison and the battle edition as reference, he had understood that all grade 6 runes were singular designs focused around the power of laws. They could have multiple manifestations of the core law that showcased themselves as different abilities, but a true grade 6 rune only had one rune. However, these runes were just so powerful that they occupied all of the user’s slots and still had enormous requirements on capacity. If a regular saint or the like were to get one, all of their vitality would be drained in a single activation.

Midren’s battle edition was composed of six primary runes, three secondary runes, and twelve binding runes. These runes weren’t directly drawn onto the user’s body, but built into pieces of equipment and then connected to the user through the six primary rune slots. They would thus form the entire body of the rune set.

Just crafting the runes for this set was only a third of the job. One also had to link them all together, and then find someone who could actually make use of the power. Lowering the requirements for capacity would require an absurd amount of incredibly rare materials; without any means to focus and limit the power, Richard suspected that only epic beings would be able to use it. Even with precious materials like the soul crystal of an adult astral beast, one needed to be a legend or at least a sky saint if they wanted to harness any of the power at all. Outside of that, regular saints would require a top-tier bloodline akin to those of Apeiron, Nyris, or Macy.

That being said, the ordinary Midren rune set wasn’t particularly better either, mainly because there weren’t any legendary materials to act as substitute foci. Saint Peter had solved this problem by designing the set for a very specific bloodline, aided by the fact that the imperial bloodline of the Sacred Tree Empire had a link to the Radiant Lord. Richard had already figured out that saints from the imperial family could use the set, but other legends should have been able to as well.

The Heaven’s Armour series worked on an entirely different paradigm from traditional runes, and combined with the fact that this wasn’t a design he had come up with himself, Richard knew there would be a lot to learn during the process. He was already itching to try out many of these ideas for himself, like the bloodline-centric adaptations. To him, these three rune designs were treasure veins that would never run out.

Making it clear that he wasn’t to be disturbed if nothing important happened, he immersed himself in his craft. This time, he would use the traditional, time-tested methods of decoding any rune; splitting up the design into its building blocks and then putting them back together one by one to see how they worked. This was a long job; just the fragments had over a thousand individual arrays, while his first version had just about 3,000. As far as he could tell, the battle edition had more than 10,000!

……

No matter how many arrays there were, one would eventually be able to finish studying them all. Whatever the grade of the rune was, its essence remained a way to direct mana, energy, or the power of laws. A month passed in the blink of an eye, and the once-empty shelves all around Richard’s lab were suddenly filled with designs of basic arrays that he had broken down and put together once more. He didn’t just want to create Midren, but also to improve it or perhaps even invent an entirely new set. Only in that way would the battle edition be worth all the offerings he’d used.

Few runemasters could ever stand in Richard’s position. Most of them spent their lives crafting from designs that others had made, and even if they designed a new rune or improved an existing one, it would be a few bing improvements or maybe one rune in their lives. To create a fully custom grade 3 rune alone needed grandmaster-level ability in a dozen related fields. To such people, someone planning to modify a renowned grade 5 rune was just crazy, even if it was a saint runemaster.

It was widely accepted in Norland that all saint runes had souls. The soul wasn’t an easy thing to grasp, especially for a design that had been created a long time ago and had been modified over time. Normally, the death of a rune’s creator would be the end of its growth; others would come around that could perhaps recreate it, but it was almost impossible for someone to improve on another’s design. But then, Richard wasn’t just planning on modifying Midren. No, he was far too crazy for that.

He was planning to modify the battle edition straight away!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA