Book 1, Chapter 117

Behind The Scenes

“Take action?” Dasher looked at the Duke with contempt, snorting, “What kind of action? Richard left Faust a week ago, his destination unknown. He’s definitely embarked on an expedition to a plane, and don’t dream of getting the coordinates anytime soon. High Priestess Ferlyn even had Daybreak accompany him! Do you think we’ll be able to get the location out of the Church of the Eternal Dragon?”

“Richard and Flowsand… You haven’t realised?” Raymond asked with a smile. He didn’t seem dismayed, instead very confident..

Dasher’s face darkened, and he obviously wasn’t happy with Raymond’s behaviour. Although they both occupied the same layer, the Wellingtons were undeniably far stronger than the Josephs. In fact, the Josephs had only lost power through their war of attrition with the Archerons.

However, Raymond didn’t continue to keep them guessing, “Richard and Flowsand being together will mean that they’re going to a low-level plane. A party formed for such an expedition will be limited to level 10 or so. We don’t have to get the coordinates from Gaton or the Church, in fact we don’t have to get the coordinates at all. As long as we’re able to shift where they end up, our plans can be achieved.”

“You mean to…?” Dasher’s eyes flashed. He didn’t seem to dislike this fellow as much anymore.

Raymond immediately replied, “Simple. We can perform a ceremony of our own, using the entirety of the blessing to change the coordinates Richard will be teleporting to. Turn it into an intermediate plane that needs those at least at level 18 to conquer! Then we can get the coordinates for this new plane, and send our own parties to vie for the resources there. While we’re at it, we can have Richard killed as well. The laws allow us to send expeditions capped at level 15, so it won’t be a huge strain on our resources and won’t draw the attention of the Archerons. And based on levels alone we’ll have an absolute advantage over his party.

Duke Mensa pondered for a while before speaking, “This is a good idea, but it has already been a week…” Sacrifices could only change the future, not the past.

Raymond added in a hurry, “He should still be off somewhere making preparations. We’ve always had our eyes on important Archerons, and Richard definitely didn’t have the resources for an expedition prepared before the ceremony. We must still strike quickly, however; our time is running out.” Raymond’s confidence caused the representatives of the other families to exchange looks. With the two families being arch enemies, the Josephs spying on the Archerons was nothing new.

Duke Mensa chimed in, “Richard’s blessings weren’t low. We’ll need a ceremony with thrice the offerings.”

“We’ll be able to accomplish that if we divide it amongst ourselves,” Dasher interjected. He then turned to the Schumpeter representative, frowning, “As for you guys…”

The Schumpeters had just performed a ceremony a few months ago, and their strength had dropped greatly in recent years. They wouldn’t be able to take anything decent out of their vaults. However, they would definitely be thrown out of this circle if they didn’t make any contributions at a time like this.

When Dasher’s gaze swept past him, the Schumpeters’ representative gritted his teeth and said, “Leave the boy to us. We’ll divide the resources from the new plane equally amongst our families.”

“It won’t be that easy to deal with those two,” Dasher didn’t release his hold on the man, “Who’ll be in charge of the mission?”

The Schumpeter representative gritted his teeth again, “Sinclair!”

“Very well then, it’s all settled!” Dasher seemed to be satisfied, a rare sight. He moved the discussion forward, discussing the sacrifices with the other two…

Midnight. Duke Mensa personally led a party of knights to the Church of the Eternal Dragon, beginning a ceremony in a bid to obtain blessings. This was supposed to be a low-grade ceremony arranged at the last minute, so Derlyn herself did not show up. A random priestess would be enough to officiate.

Once the ceremony began, however, the light in the church grew more and more radiant. Divine energy surged from the void, and just the sheer amount of it indicated that this was the highest grade of ceremony. This was an extremely rare occurrence, causing the officiating priestess to nearly faint with happiness. Such a grand ceremony wouldn’t normally be open for her to conduct, so this was a blessing. She was even more solicitous than usual afterwards, personally escorting the Duke out of the church.

The ceremony performed in the middle of the night was a hot topic in aristocratic circles for a few weeks. Duke Mensa’s close friends visited him on occasion, congratulating him. They all believed that such a great blessing would cement his position in the Sacred Alliance further, perhaps to the point that he wouldn’t have to worry about the Archeron threat anymore.

Every time, Duke Mensa only expressed his gratitude. He didn’t reveal any details of the ceremony, leaving these ‘close friends’ with no information about the events leading up to it.

……

Richard had no idea of the events that had unfolded in Faust. They were on the eve of departure, the final night of preparations finally here. And that passed quickly as well— between the head count, preparing equipment, readying themselves for emergencies, and many other little matters like that, the sun had crept its way back onto the horizon.

Lina had already prepared the formation, leaving it awaiting activation. She remained prudent, ensuring that there were no problems with the coordinates repeatedly. Richard made a final confirmation as well, just before he would teleport away.

The party this time consisted of him, Flowsand, Waterflower, Gangdor, the trolls, Olar, and a small group of footsoldiers provided by the Archerons. Nobody except Richard, Flowsand, and Waterflower carried high-grade equipment so they wouldn’t have to use much energy for teleportation, and all of his runecrafting supplies were stuffed into two large boxes.

Once she ascertained that everything was in place, Lina activated the portal. Immense mana surged from the crystals placed all over the formation, tearing the void above it until an ancient law stabilised the rift. It eventually formed a portal that they would be able to pass through one at a time.

The footsoldiers were the first through the portal, followed by Gangdor, the trolls, and then the rest. Once Flowsand stepped through as well, Richard was the only one remaining.

“Wait a minute!” Lina called out, walking up to Richard, “Good luck, Little Richard!”

“Thank you!” Richard smiled, wanting to shake her hand. However, the Dragonmage instead gave him a warm hug, one so tight that Richard could distinctly feel her figure pressing into his body. However, it conveyed her sincere well-wishes and concern.

Richard walked back to the portal. In the final moment before he left, he turned around and waved, “I’ll definitely return!”

There was a common saying amongst those of Norland embarking on an expedition: the portal was like a mirror. But one step, and one would end up in an entirely different world. Nobody knew what they would encounter in the other plane, forget whether they could grow a base and stabilise their position there, obtaining resources and returning home. Once Richard stepped foot through the portal, nobody knew when it would be that he stepped back onto the soil of Norland once more.

Seeing the boy’s figure disappear through the portal, Lina felt a sudden urge to cry. It wasn’t because Richard was special, but because this scene brought back many memories from the past. This wasn’t the first time the Dragonmage was setting up a portal to a different plane, personally sending off many people on their journeys. There were strangers, comrades, family members, friends, and lovers. They were all bold, decisive and intelligent, and were outstanding people of their times.

Many of them had remained uncontactable since.

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OMA's Thoughts

Theo: And Book 1 is done! Coming up: Action Overload.

Translation/TLC By: OMA

Edited By: Theo