Book 8, Chapter 88

Time Is The Best Medicine

Reading about the hive of life, Richard was shocked. If one ignored the unique shape of the hive, then the abilities to condense life force, protect from the will of the forest, and form fruits of life… Wasn’t this a real tree of life? Even the hive pods were basically equivalent to the elves’ treehouses! He almost felt a little relieved that this was a special unit.

The hive of life could be used as a base camp for the night elves. Once fully grown, it could support more than ten thousand residents completely, making that army entirely self-sufficient. If he was willing to spare a hundred units of divinity crystals and a portion of his now-vast supply of image diamonds, it would even have the ability to shrink itself down to fit into his backpack. Even at its original size, it could uproot itself and travel fifty kilometres an hour, something it could do once a month unlike a normal tree of life.

Once he’d read through everything, Richard didn’t hesitate in the slightest to order the hive made. Arranging for everything the clone needed, he left her to things and decided to return. Although he hadn’t managed to defeat the World Tree itself, he did manage to destroy a strand of its soul. With the heavy injury, it wouldn’t be able to create too much trouble.

Before going back to Norland, he paid Nyris a visit. The Fourth Princess was sat in her room alone, silently reading a history book, but it was clear that this was only to pass her time. She placed a metallic bookmark within the pages once she heard him enter, carefully closing the book and looking up, “Hey.”

“I’m going back to Norland.”

“Alright, then we’ll meet the next time you return.”

“Come back with me, won’t you?”

Nyris’s eyes sparkled at the proposition, but they quickly dimmed once more, “No, I’m fine here. You need someone to guard this place; now that I’m here, even Jadering can’t pull any tricks.”

“But time passes so quickly here! A month in Norland is a full year!”

“Sigh. Time, best of poisons, but the best of medicines as well,” she quoted an old saying.

Richard frowned, his hands balling into fists. At this point, he understood her clearly; she wanted to use the passage of time to dull her feelings. As someone who had known her for years, she couldn’t hide her love even if she wanted to. However, Nyris was someone whom he had marked as a brother long ago; no matter what she had become now, that friendship and camaraderie was different from romance. He couldn’t refute the fact that he found her attractive, but there was just no way for him to close that distance in his own mind.

……

In the end, Richard returned to Norland alone. When he walked into Coco’s room, she looked paler than ever. The cheekbones were visible on her face, and her belly had already started to swell at a speed that far surpassed any human child, and it was clearly draining her of her life.

He placed the case of life potions on the desk, taking a vial out and passing it to her, “Drink this.”

It took great effort from Coco just to uncork the vial, but as she downed the liquid a rosy blush quickly appeared on her face. Her bones started crackling with the life force now coursing through her veins, but the blush quickly faded as most of the life force was drained by the child. A strong heartbeat pulsed from her belly, and as Richard opened and passed the second potion over, it absorbed most of the energy once more. Thankfully, this time it left a tiny bit for its mother.

Richard had expected such a scenario, but the amount of energy the child absorbed was still beyond his predictions. Insight revealed that the baby was still in the form of a core, but it had grown to the size of a fist. Unlike humans, demonspawn formed their core first before the body was created around it. From the size, the baby was almost fully grown and would start with a body soon. The total amount of life force needed for that wouldn’t be nearly as high.

Richard continued to spend time with Coco, feeding her life potions. He let the baby absorb as much as it wanted, but sometimes he also suppressed that so she could get more energy herself. It took more than a day and twenty bottles before the heart core was finally done, and in the process Coco’s condition was now even better than before her pregnancy. With the core formed, he left the remaining life potions with her to drink whenever she felt weak. Relieved that his child would be fine, he returned to his study and started taking care of everything that he had neglected in this time.

The first thing he saw on his desk was a letter from Saint Martin:

“Dear Richard, I’m happy to inform you that your troubles have grown. The nobility of the Empire has started discussing a declaration of war for your crimes against the Brahms Marquessate. Why did you have to leave so many people alive? Now they’re all witnesses, I would have just burned the entire castle town.

“Of course, as your closest ally, I can consider using the Church to help you settle this issue. However, that will require some remuneration; persuading that bunch of narcissists isn’t an easy task.

“Now, I don’t think you’d be able to defeat the Empire’s troops, but I also don’t think declaring war on you would be a wise move. My three Midrens are still under your control, which is truly unfortunate. In exchange for a 50% chance to stop the war entirely, I hope you would be willing to remove this dangerous control. What do you think….”

The Saint went on to explain the reason for his confidence. There were only two people left amongst the council of cardinals right now: the pope and Martin himself. Issues like this would need to be voted on by the council, and Martin definitely wouldn’t agree. Even if the pope tried to push things through, that would be a 1 to 1 vote that would need to be redone in the next meeting. This stalling could go on indefinitely, which was why it would end up in the pope’s best interest not to bother.

Richard chuckled at the explanation and offer. He already planned to remove his control over the three rune sets anyway: that had been a one-time thing to keep Martin from betraying him, but it wasn’t conducive to a longer alliance. If doing that bought him time to strengthen his forces further, that was just perfect.

He immediately penned a letter in reply, the contents being a single line, “They’re free now.”

With that taken care of, he started going through some less important paperwork while evaluating his military power. The clone’s evolution would serve to be a huge boost to his resources, making it a matter of time before the World Tree was defeated. It wouldn’t even be difficult to get her to level 10; while divinity was valuable, it could be bought or obtained otherwise with time and effort. Taking out a few lesser gods in Faelor wouldn’t be much of an issue, and there were always other planes he could look into as well.

Killing gods wasn’t the only way to get divinity either. In the worst case scenario, he could just buy some from the Eternal Dragon. It was a little more difficult to make sacrifices given that he wasn’t in the Sacred Alliance anymore, but that also meant he had accumulated a large number of offerings. Of course, a saint runemaster who could craft one of eight saint runes whenever he wanted wouldn’t be poor even if he wanted to be.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA