Book 8, Chapter 30

Squeezed Dry

As the new saplings began to grow, Sharon glared fiercely at Richard and hopped to the other side of the demiplane, her landing forming a metre-wide square pit.

“This will be your mana pool,” the legendary mage fumed between gritted teeth, flying back and forth as she carved three notches to link the pool with the energy-absorbing trees. The pool started emitting a faint mist as mana started radiating from within, clear liquid slowly starting to fill it. Richard walked over and cupped some of it with both hands, finding it strangely viscous with a strong aura of mana that made it clear that this was amongst the best mana springs in existence. A single vial of this would be considered a powerful mana potion, able to fetch over a thousand gold coins.

Despite all that, this wasn’t a fortified mana pool but a hole stamped out into the ground with no measure to prevent the outflow of mana. For the pool to be expanding showcased the inestimable value of the eighteen energy-absorbing trees.

Sharon sighed, “These are the coordinates, you should be able to get here in three portals, and you’re strong enough to survive as long as you keep yourself inside. It should be easy to control the energy transformation, so finish building this thing yourself when you have time. Hmph!”

Eyes still focused on the energy-absorbing trees, Richard pointed asked, “How can I get more of them?”

“You want… Bah, if you use all the absorbed energy to grow new trees you can get a new sapling every three to five decades. If you use them like now, it’ll take about a century. So many years of finding and collecting these things, and now they’re all yours. Being your master is simply driving me to death! What use are you outside of being tender and delicious?!”

With the legendary mage right up in his face, Richard could only smile bitterly. He had been delighted when he brought some godsblood back to the Deepblue, thinking he was finally able to stand for himself in this relationship and give as much as he took, but now he was saddled with another enormous debt that he didn’t know when he would be able to repay.

Sharon’s expression immediately melted as she noticed his face. She smiled softly and caressed a cheek, “Don’t worry about my rants. You’re doing very well, much better than I’d ever imagined. Take your time and become strong; one day, you’ll surpass me. In the meanwhile, don’t let anyone know about these trees, even those girlfriends of yours. Understood?”

Richard nodded. Such powerful and mysterious objects like these trees could attract the attention of epic beings.

The legendary mage stretched up on her toes and gave him a peck on his lips, “All of my stuff will be yours one day anyway.”

Richard’s heart trembled the moment he heard those words, mind going back to the vision he had seen now decades ago of an endless void with nothing but a figure floating in slumber or in death. Turning pallid, he squeezed out a reluctant smile, “Impossible! You’ve said it before yourself; you might not be the strongest, but you’ll definitely be the richest.”

“Of course!” her face brightened, “Now, let’s go back and give the trees some time. You can return tomorrow.”

While Sharon opened a portal to the Deepblue and stepped through, Richard drew a stabilising array on the ground and activated it before forming his own. At the other end of this portal was the very same lab they had come from, and as he stepped out the legendary mage was shocked, “You managed it in only one portal? And it was so precise? Your spatial laws are outstanding!”

For once, Richard was happy that he was the one doing the surprising, “I was titled a Lord of Space by the Eternal Dragon; that’s helped grow my understanding.”

“That’s good!” she patted his back heavily, slapping him right into the ground, “Now get to work, there’s a hundred starlit crystals left! No need to worry, I have as many mana potions as you need!”

……

Over the next day, Richard experienced the taste of running dry of his mana before going back up to full rapidly a total of four times. Even with his patience he was starting to feel a little nauseous at the sight of them, but thankfully the time to work on his demiplane arrived and he quickly escaped.

In the span of a single day, the demiplane had grown two full metres. The roots of the energy-absorbing trees were still fluttering about, condensing the energy into elemental soil. He dug in straight towards the boulder that had formed the basis of the demiplane, and while that was still normal rock for the most part he could already see the same thin elemental crystals forming within as in the rest of the soil. It wouldn’t be long before it was changed completely, making this demiplane purely of elemental earth that was tougher than most rocks.

The mana pool had already been filled to the brim, the liquid flowing out and being absorbed by the earth. Grains of magic crystals were forming where the mana water was absorbed, and a thin layer with dozens of them had already been formed at the bottom of the pool; one of them was already milky white, showcasing great purity.

Just this pool alone could harvest ten thousand gold a day, but it was clear that the place Sharon had opened up was insufficient for it to reach its full potential. Richard retrieved some tools from his spatial storage to try and expand it, but the moment his superior-grade shovel hit the ground it snapped in two. He rummaged through his equipment to see if he had any epic-grade item he could try, but realising there was no better option he ended up pulling out Moonlight and stabbing it in. The divine weapon immediately radiated reluctance, but it ended up suiting the task.

After bustling around for half a day, the pool had now been expanded to three metres wide and an extra metre deep, the excavated soil scattered across the region where the boulder had been to transform it. Carving a magic array that could control the operations of the mana pool, Richard then strengthened the spatial stabilisation before returning to the Deepblue.

The moment he returned, he had to face the starlit crystals once more.

……

A week quickly passed by, bringing Richard’s demiplane to twenty square metres in size and much more presentable than before. The expanded pool had filled up once more, but he chose to allow it to condense into mana crystals instead of bottling any; there were already two high-grade crystals at the very bottom, and it wouldn’t be long before the entirety was filled.

The defensive arrays to mitigate the energy storm had also been completed, but they were left inactive for now. Their purpose was to allow weaker beings to travel here, but with the secret of the energy-absorbing trees he couldn’t afford that just yet. He had yet to reach Sharon’s level, with both wealth and power that outdid whole empires.

A teleportation gate had been constructed over this time period, saving on a lot of energy for future trips. This finished the very base foundation of the demiplane, with things like the magic tower, lab, and homunculi left for later. The eighteen energy-absorbing trees had maintained their location on the edge of the land for the proximity to the energy storm, so he was planning to build a warehouse in the centre to store his most important items.

His time in the Deepblue had been spent on the starlit crystals. He had now finished a grand total of 400, well beyond Sharon’s original requirements, but having seen how efficient he was she had decided to squeeze him dry of mana. Of course, she also squeezed him dry in entirely different ways every night in her bedroom, an experience that was still painful but enjoyable. Amidst this all, he was studying the Deepblue Aria on her body in preparation to start working on it in earnest.

At the end of the week, as he finished the foundation for the warehouse and returned, the familiar bucket of crystals was not laid before him. Instead, Sharon was moping around at a corner of the lab, turning to him the moment he arrived, “You withdrew from the Alliance?”

This question left Richard a little confused until he recalled that he hadn’t actually told Sharon about it. Although just recalling the events left a bade taste in his mouth, he explained everything from start to end.

The moment he got to what happened in the Hall of Mirrors, Sharon leapt into the sky and started radiating killing intent, “THAT BITCH! Who else would dare to bully my people? She thinks she can get you to lick her boots and I’ll still care that the fatty helped me in secret all that time ago? Fuck being whatever protector. Don’t worry, I’ll go and tear Faust apart to teach them a lesson!”

Sharon patted Richard heavily on the shoulder as she flew into a portal, knocking him to the ground. “No, I’ll deal with it!” he tried to shout behind her, but he had already gone away. It took a moment for him to get back up and recover from the impact, but as soon as he felt the numbness fade away he opened up a portal trying to follow her aura.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA