Book 9, Chapter 52

Clouds Of Conspiracy

“Huh? Did something happen?” When Richard returned to his island, he was surprised by Julian waiting for him.

The man smiled and passed him a sheet of paper, “This is the contribution requirement at the Land of Dusk for this month.”

“Contribution? You could have sent anyone for that, and I’ve already paid… A threefold increase, what happened?”

“Her Majesty has decided to launch a full attack in the Land of Dusk, chasing the Daxdians out entirely.”

“She wants to… what?” Richard was shocked by this declaration. Norland as a whole had always been at a disadvantage in the Land of Dusk despite the cooperation of the three human kingdoms, and it was difficult for any one to renew their focus in that direction as well. While some amount of contribution was expected from all nobility, most nobles simply paid in offerings or gold to support the independent warriors that formed the bulk of the defensive forces. Even he had continued to pay his share while he had separated from the Alliance, simply because it concerned the interests of the entire plane. There simply was no room for the Sacred Alliance to make such a big move.

It was only a few years ago that Emperor Philip had displayed his frightening power to recover the Fort of Dawn, but that had led to his demise. He was just as powerful as Apeiron if not more, so chasing the Daxdians away was impossible. This was true even if he and Sharon joined hands to help; perhaps only Philip and Ferlyn added on top of that could stand a chance.

Julian simply smiled at the question, informing Richard that it was a military secret which would be revealed when the time came. However, he leaned over and whispered softly, “Her Majesty wishes for you to go to the Land of Dusk, even if merely to have a look.”

“Hmm… Alright, let me know when.” With no more information forthcoming, Richard was suspicious but concluded that it was something of utmost importance. Even Apeiron wouldn’t waste his time at such a juncture.

Julian bowed deeply, “We shall look forward to your arrival.”

Richard nodded, having a servant send over enough offerings to match the required contribution. He then headed to his study and started going through his administrative duties; even if he did only the minimum required, it would still be half an hour before he was done.

However, on top of the stack of documents for him to review was a letter marked as with utmost importance and urgency, causing him to raise an eyebrow. He read through it to find that it was someone collecting on his bounty, specifically with regards to the identity and traces of a Scholar. Alice had already verified the information, and as someone who had dealt with the Scholars for a while now he realised that the information was almost certainly accurate the moment he read through it. The Scholar was even one on the level of a council member, well beyond Raymond’s importance.

However, there was one problem. This Scholar’s name was Greyhawk; it was the prince of the Millennial Empire and Mountainsea’s father.

Richard walked back and forth in his study with the letter in hand, filled with hesitation and indecision. In a situation where every minute could mean the lives of thousands of soldiers, he spent a full ten before he could come to a decision. He called the old butler in and passed the document, “Reward them as usual, but have Sauron and Alice look into the person who informed us about this.”

Pausing for a moment, he continued to ask, “And how’s Coco?”

“Miss Coco has been quite emotional lately, perhaps because of her family. She also seems to be upset that her child is not by her side.”

“Fiora’s situation is a little delicate now, ask her not to worry. Anyway, has she decided? Will she stay or leave?”

The steward bowed, “She wishes to stay, Master, but the ultimate decision is yours.”

“Oh? She is aware that it means giving up on her territory and title?”

“Yes.”

“Huh… Well, then let her stay. And she can keep the fiefdom too.”

“Thank you, Master!” the steward smiled with emotion, “There is another matter. Miss Demi plans to marry Lord Agamemnon from the Ironblood Family, but she hasn’t completed her duties.”

“She’s exempt,” Richard waved of.

“M-Master, but…” the old man was surprised. There had never been an exception to the family laws in all of recorded Archeron history, and violators were punished heavily. Venica’s banishment was already the lightest sentence Richard could have passed; in theory, the only way out was a marriage where the Archerons joined with another family formally. However, Agamemnon wasn’t yet the leader of the Ironblood Family and couldn’t represent his entire bloodline.

“Just ask them to send their second child to us. I won’t be able to make it for their wedding, but prepare a gift and send it over.”

……

“Master, I have a surprise for you. You should visit the Land of Turmoil,” the broodmother’s voice rang in Richard’s mind the moment he stepped into Faelor.

“Spill. I’m not going to waste a day travelling!” Richard grumbled. His runecrafting speed had grown exponentially ever since he entered the legendary realm, and his success rate was frightening as well. He could craft most grade 5 runes in only three days now, so he wouldn’t waste time on travel.

“It won’t take a day, just a few minutes,” she insisted, directing him to what looked like a portal close to his residence. The thing was obviously different from normal teleportation gates, with a dark brown texture to the frame and a pulsing body, but this left him impressed. He had never even imagined a creature that could form a portal with its body.

“The mana required to power this takes about 300,000 gold in crystals,” the broodmother’s voice rang out once more.

At this point, however, Richard didn’t even consider gold a limited currency. He gladly walked through the strange portal and found himself in the familiar larval forest, the mountainous broodmother right before him. He turned around to look at the other end, “Not bad at all. Make one for every battlefield.”

“Hmm? The mana cost is simply too high, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Just needs to accommodate me. What do you call these things anyway?”

“Wormholes, but Master, I don’t think it would be wise for you to participate in all of the battles.”

“Of course I have to. This is a war that I personally decided to fight.”

“But… Sigh. Have you thought of the consequences if you die? All of us who follow you do it for you, not for the Archerons. We would part ways immediately.”

Richard laughed, “I won’t die so easily.”

“No one is invincible!”

“Sure, but— Huh?” Richard’s reply was stopped short when he saw a small silhouette appear on the back of the broodmother. Leaping forward several times, it charged towards him like lightning. He grabbed a sword by instinct and was about to bat the threat to the ground, but he froze as the figure cried out.

“Daddy!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA