Book 8, Chapter 89

Blackgold’s Surprise

Placing the sealed letter to Martin on a stack of others that would be sent out soon, Richard started wondering about his own problems. The broodmother’s avatar had said that she would awaken her truename at level 10 or 11, but that implied she was completely independent of the main body. It was impossible for two mirrors of the same soul to have different truenames.

He spent some time thinking of any potential problems that could come from this, but in the end the broodmothers were just like the rest of his followers. Having two would just be better for him, and while the dangers technically increased, he wasn’t particularly concerned.

Now, all he needed was enough time and an elite troop of fearsome night elves would be formed in the forest plane, quickly reaching the heights of the main broodmother’s winter soldiers and arrowbeasts. When the avatar got to level 10, her drones would be just as powerful. Once this army matured, he would be confident in sweeping the armies of all three empires.

At this point, the forces from the broodmothers were quickly becoming the core of his army. With all eligible Archeron warriors having already joined his cause in the past few years, they were the only way to quickly expand his army outside of warriors from outside the family. At this point, only about 60% of his 120,000 warriors were Archerons, of which about 20,000 could be turned into some sort of rune knight. Every rune knight took an enormous amount of money, but they were also a terrifying force on the battlefield.

With the main broodmother bottlenecked right before level 12 , the avatar would soon surpass it given time. However, the main body had a far more complicated system with the chrysalides, flesh furnaces, and cloned brains that the avatar did not possess. The clone’s army was just a horde of warriors, while she had a complicated logistical and scouting system alongside top-end fighters; she was a fully self-sufficient war machine. If the two went to war, the clone would lose every single time.

That being said, Richard had to acknowledge that the clone was much better as a piece in the whole. While she couldn’t create winter soldiers and arrowbeasts, her night elves were plenty strong for their cost.

Thinking over things for the entire night, he eventually decided to focus more of his resources on the night elves. For now, that meant designing weapons and armour for their usage, and there was no better place to have that done than by the Deepblue. His investments were already growing profitable, and the entire process had taught the professors the concept of value for money. They could now maximise performance without any innocent notions of just choosing the greatest strength. Even an idiot understood that a flame dragon crystal would turn a longsword into a legendary weapon, but there wasn’t an infinite supply of those. In reality, even his followers didn’t all have legendary equipment; the superior-grade items he did provide to his troops was already at the limit of what was feasible.

He decided to talk to Blackgold, making sketches of night elven warriors, archers, and druids and adding relevant data to help in design. Once he was done with those, he thought things over for a moment before adding in the design for an elven mage. The clone didn’t have the ability to make mages yet, but the main body did. While this only allowed for a limited selection of spells, almost like magical beasts, as far as he was concerned this was enough. He didn’t expect any lightning, acid, or poisons, all he needed of them was fireballs.

Richard himself had thrown fireballs all the way up to the legendary realm, even if the fireballs had grown bigger, more numerous, and more blue along the way. He knew exactly how potent a barrage of them was; there wasn’t really a need for other spells unless the opponent had a way to resist.

Once done with the preparations, Richard arrived before the long-distance communication circle and activated it. It took half a minute, but Blackgold eventually responded on the other side. The grey dwarf looked rather strange, with bruises on the corners of his eyes while his hair and beard seemed to have been burned away in sections. It looked like he had just escaped from a burning volcano, but there wasn’t a single sign of pain on his face.

“Is Master around?” Richard started as always.

“No, she’s still gone looking for some food with another mage. She’s been eating a lot recently, almost three times as much!” Blackgold beamed. Everyone in the Deepblue was happy if Sharon ate a lot; after all, her universal law was that appetite determined ability.

Richard smiled as well, “Right, you’d asked me to come look at something the last time I was over, but then… things happened. Was it good news?”

The grey dwarf’s eyes glistened as his voice dropped low, “You finally remembered, you little bastard. Yes, I have a huge surprise for you, but just make sure to have enough gold in your pockets!”

“Should I come over?” Richard had never seen Blackgold behave like this before. He was never one to exaggerate, so this had to be a huge surprise that really would convince him to throw out his gold with reckless abandon.

“Sure, why not?”

That answer only convinced him further. A one-way trip to the Deepblue cost 100,000 gold, and the money-minded dwarf would never overlook that sum. Richard immediately had people prepare the long-distance portal, reaching the Deepblue after a few minutes. Waiting on the other side, Blackgold immediately took him to an underground experimentation field and had some helpers prepare a full row of humanoid targets. Each target was placed exactly thirty metres apart, armed to different levels from a normal infantry soldier to a rune knight just shy of sainthood. A few mages pushed over a trolley that was covered in black cloth.

“You’ll be seeing a miracle, kid. Even those dragonblood gnomes will have to call me Master Blackgold after today!” The duergar jumped up, pulling the cloth off the trolley to reveal a strange object that was almost two metres long. He pulled the thing out to reveal what looked like a cannon with five barrels around it, but a handle and trigger in the middle revealed that it was actually a gun.

Richard was rather confused by the sight. Just a cursory look showed that the machine weighed more than sixty kilograms, and apart from the barrels it also had a number of pipes and gears at the back that made it abundantly clear this wasn’t just a gun.

“Watch the fireworks!” Blackgold chuckled like he had just finished off a full barrel of ale, grabbing the strange device with the central handle and placing it against the hip. He then put another hand on the trigger.

Even as Richard started wondering about the strange way to hold this thing, a deafening roar rang out in the field as the gun shot flames a few metres out ahead! It felt like everything shook as the humanoid figure representing the rune knight had its chest sink in, metal pellets having pierced through the breastplate. This was enough force to harm even a rune knight!

Richard quickly estimated the force of that shot, and from what he could tell it was just below harmful to a rune knight when they were armed with a shield. The knight would feel some numbness in the arm, but the damage could be recovered from in moments.

However, this was just the beginning. The gears on the gun started screeching as they spun rapidly, the barrels rotating a sixth of a turn to reveal that there were actually six in total. Even as the empty one showed itself, another loud explosion rang out as its neighbour’s contents were unloaded into the dummy as well!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA