Book 9, Chapter 34

Bridge Of Hope

Richard was stood in front of his map, staring at the red arrows that signified the movements in the eastern Iron Triangle. Salwyn was shifting the entire population of those cities, but that only left him shaking his head. It was clear that defending cities didn’t work against the reapers, but this wasn’t any better. The people would all die nevertheless, but this way they would have a glimmer of hope.

Did Salwyn really think there was a chance for them to survive? Unfortunately, he couldn’t indulge in such fantasies himself. As the one making the decisions, he had to be far more practical.

“Got it?” he sent a mental message.

“Five top-tier offerings… Since when did you get so generous?” Nasia sent an elated response.

“Never, when will you become legendary?”

“Hmm… Fifteen more and I’ll be there.”

“What? Stop shitting me, you said THREE would be enough last time.”

“I said one would do fine when you summoned me,” she replied calmly.

“You… Fine, just be honest. How many do you really need?”

“I’m not joking this time, fifteen. Five to become legendary myself, but getting my abilities there will need the ten others. Of course, it would be best if you can give me even more. Five extra and my swords become divine, ten and all of my equipment. You should know what that means.”

This calmed Richard down. Even he agreed that Nasia being legendary was meaningless, it was her abilities that mattered. A full set of divine equipment would also bring her to the level of an epic being, comparable to his own power.

Nasia was truly the easiest of his followers to nurture, but she also felt like the greatest trap. Richard was always reluctant to upgrade her too quickly; this mysterious heavenly guardian was one of the few beings that left him feeling truly threatened when she was just a saint. She seemed to be the most direct of his subordinates, but just like the broodmother there was no way to actually control her. All of his other followers had soul-binding contracts, even the legends.

Richard still had thirty top-tier offerings with him, but he believed that would already be stretched in the upcoming battles. If he used half on Nasia, it would be extremely difficult to finance the full war. However, they would also have an immediate effect with her; if he ignored the risks, it truly was worth the gamble.

Seconds turned into minutes and felt like centuries. The war waged on in Richard’s mind, but he eventually shook it all off and connected to Nasia once more, “Alright, they’ll be on the way.”

“Mm. How many?”

“25.”

Nasia whistled, “So generous. I’ll take it all, but let me remind you that you might not be able to defeat me afterwards.”

“I know.” For some reason, he felt relieved.

“Why so brave, now of all times?”

He shook his head, “I don’t know. There’s no reason to really trust you, but… I feel like I can. You still scare me, but I can live with it.”

“I scare you?” she laughed heartily, “What are you scared of? That I’ll eat you up? Go worry about Macy instead, that girl won’t give up until she gets some action. Then again, we can’t have you incapacitating Rosie, maybe she’ll make a good replacement. Won’t it be great to have a woman waiting for you after the battles?”

“Nasia!” he growled, but she chuckled and cut off their connection. Shaking his head, he focused back on the map. The reapers would attack in as late as a month to as early as a week, leaving him without the time to do anything. Dozens of colourful arrows all across Faelor were currently pointed at the Crimson Empire, representing armies, churches, and citizens moving towards the final fortress in Bluewater, but it was unknown just how many of them would make the journey.

He looked out the window, looking at the bustling streets. The entirety of Faelor was panicking, but people in Bluewater seemed as upbeat as ever. After all, they lived under the protection of the invincible Richard Archeron, the End of Time.

He suddenly recalled a quote by Louis the Seventh of the Sacred Tree Empire: “A true emperor knows of his responsibilities the moment he sees his people.”

However, no title of emperor actually mattered to him. In this plane, his power and responsibility reached far beyond any emperor, beyond even any god. And he wanted to save as many of his people as he could.

With only five top-tier offerings left, he picked up a proposal in his drawer and flipped through it slowly. It wasn’t very long nor detailed, but it contained a genius idea from geniuses that he trusted. Rosie and Perrin called it the Rainbow Bridge of Hope, and simply put it was a plan to build an enormous passage connecting the Forest Plane and Goldflow Valley to Norland. It would allow almost zero-cost transportation between the planes.

The idea was quite simple, but at the same time it was not. It was near-impossible to form portals directly between two secondary planes for a number of reasons, but the primary one was that the coordinates from the Eternal Dragon wouldn’t work. One had to recalculate a spatial surface that both planes occupied in common, and then find coordinates using that new system. This would take months on end if he wanted to do it himself.

The Bridge of Hope turned out to be a surprise Perrin had already been planning for a while now. He would have revealed it once the Boulder Highlands and Resting Orchid Plane were mapped out as well, but even now it would be a huge boost to get the magic crystal reserves of Goldflow Valley and the troops from the Forest Plane. The man truly was a genius, his talent at mathematics far exceeding Richard’s own.

He had already spent two days hesitating over this proposal, mainly with the fact that it would need four top-tier offerings and wasn’t completely guaranteed to succeed. He would need to cross-check Perrin’s calculations himself once, and even if things were right it would take a whole month to finish construction in the best case. It definitely made sense now that he had decided to take the reapers on, but believing in best-case scenarios wasn’t sustainable.

Patting the document, he sent a message for Rosie to be called in, hesitating as he saw the look in her eyes. Rosie had lived in Faelor for almost thirty years now, but a variety of things from blessings of time to the leaves of youth kept her looking just as young as when she first met him. She was already a grand mage that could craft some grade 4 runes independently, which qualified her as a royal runemaster in any of the human empires, but she still remained content in Faelor and spent her days exploring runecrafting. There were sometimes years of her time when she didn’t even meet him, but she still remained ever so loyal and faithful.

Even now, behind the wisdom in her eyes was a hint of that same affection she had showed him all this while, an affection he had never been adequate in returning. Feeling his heart throb, Richard walked over and caressed her face, “You’ve been here so long.”

Rosie smiled softly, “That’s not a bad thing, is it? You know how minimal my talent is, you’ve poured tens of millions of gold in potions into me and I’m still only a grand mage. My only accomplishment is that I haven’t wasted your resources.”

He hugged her tightly, not knowing what to say, “Stay next to me when this war is done. This plane won’t let you grow further.”

She opened her mouth to say something, but after a moment she looked at him and smiled, “Alright.”

He passed the Bridge of Hope proposal to her, “I’ll send people to gather everything you want, they’ll be sent to Faelor tomorrow. I’ll give you and Perrin 500 mages, start tomorrow.”

“But… We’ll need at least a month…”

“And I’ll give it to you.”

Her eyelashes quivered as she looked down.

Richard grabbed his sword case once Rosie left, leaving the room even as he bellowed mentally, “LET’S GO GIVE THOSE BASTARDS SOME TROUBLE!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA