The huge cost to boost Nasia’s level was well out of Richard’s expectations. Flowsand hadn’t exhausted even a hundredth of what he’d already used to get her to the legendary realm, and a rank 1 blessing was well beyond his means. He did have one right now, but that was himself. His own body and laws could only get a single level out of Nasia, which was an abysmal trade.
After frowning for a while, he quieted down and accepted that there was simply no way to upgrade Nasia in the foreseeable future. He understood that perhaps only races like the primal celestials could actually support someone like her, but that also brought his mind to something the Eternal Dragon had told him ages ago. Was this what the old dragon had meant when cautioning him that bringing Flowsand back wasn’t for the best?
Moments before he stepped through the portal, however, the flying scouts sent back a terrifying image. The reapers suddenly started to move out of their base, splitting up into a dozen groups and speeding down the breadth of Faelor. The ground troops jumped into their transport ships and followed south.
This attack was vastly different from those that had come previously. The reapers had finally adjusted strategies specifically to deal with him; knowing that he could do too much damage if they grouped up, they were now going to strike at the fact that he couldn’t be everywhere at once.
One thing that surprised him was a dozen new transporters that were designed to store the warships instead of ground troops. They moved vertically upwards and disappeared into the sky, which brought him to a shocking conclusion.
“Nasia, they’re headed for the gods!” he contacted the paladin immediately.
“Oh? Doesn’t matter, the pantheon isn’t that easy to defeat. They’ll take a year or two to break in, maybe tell your goddesses to hide themselves in the back until then. What do you want me to do about the enemies still in the plane?”
There were hundreds of millions of people still alive in the east, west, and south of Faelor, but Richard couldn’t even defend all of the Crimson Empire with his troops. He felt like the answer was both obvious and disgusting, but the way she asked the question made him think that it was a sort of test. He steeled himself before giving out a cruel order, “Protect Bluewater, and organise a single hunting team to clear up the enemies. Make sure to prioritise the retrieval of wreckage; no moving on from one target until all of the remains are refined.”
It would take almost as much time to transport the wreckage as it would to kill one of the reaper armies. More people could be defended immediately if the hunting team simply focused on killing, but Richard’s order was trading those lives for the sake of eventual victory. He would rather play the war of attrition than hope that the reapers couldn’t retrieve their remains.
“Alright, I’ll follow,” Nasia acknowledged flatly, “You should make your trip quick.”
Once Richard had gone back to Norland, Nasia teleported to one of the battlefields and walked into a small camp where a young girl was sculpting a stone statue. The partial sculpture was starting to resemble Richard, but her mediocrity at the craft was obvious and there were huge chips all over. She lost control of her strength when Nasia walked in, shattering half the statue and then pounding the ground in rage.
“You can’t help Richard like this,” Nasia spoke up.
“Then what should I do? Kill more of the reapers?” For some reason, Mountainsea had grown unusually trustful of Nasia ever since they had spoken. The paladin had started helping the barbarian to the best of her abilities as well.
“The broodmother is in trouble,” Nasia stated.
“You mean the pain sharing thing that Misu brought up? What should I do?”
“I have no idea either, but I do know that your Beast God bloodline is the only thing that can suppress her soul completely. The reapers are sending out a number of control commands that she’s been fighting, but I suspect there have to be means to take control of her or just kill her outright. You should know the consequences.”
“Umm…. Well, I do remember one way to do this… Okay, I’ll take care of it.”
Nasia frowned at this statement, “What way? I have a number of methods myself.”
“But none that are effective,” Mountainsea looked at her calmly, “You would have just told me what to do if you knew.”
“You’re right. This method isn’t completely secure, and the effects might be limited, but it’s still a solution—”
“Mine is guaranteed to work. I can’t reveal the secrets, but I’ll save her.” The barbarian seemed strangely composed for the situation, simply standing up and cloaking herself before walking out.
“What are you doing?” Nasia grabbed her shoulder.
“I’ll go talk to her and get a clear picture of this.”
“But…” the paladin wasn’t sure why, but she felt a strange portent tugging at her that made her refuse to let go.
“You smell nice,” Mountainsea suddenly turned around and moved closer to Nasia, closing her eyes and sniffing at her face. She then leaned forward and landed a soft kiss on the mask, “Thanks for trusting me.”
She then walked out of the camp leaving a stunned Nasia behind, heading towards the wormhole that only Richard was normally allowed to use. Placing her hand on the doorframe, she spoke in her mind, “Broodmother, I want to talk.”
“I would be happy to receive you, Your Highness!” the response came immediately, the portal lighting up and allowing her through.
Mountainsea approached the mountainous body of the broodmother, extending her hand when she was a metre away. The broodmother hesitated for a moment before extending her pincer and placing it on her palm. The pincer was almost ridiculously small compared to the behemoth’s size, but it was still larger than the barbarian’s entire body. Still, it was ever so gentle in its contact, barely even touching her skin.
“This smell…” she closed her eyes and sniffed hard, seemingly with the entire world under her control when she opened them once more. This time, her voice rang in the broodmother’s mind, “Our fates are twining, I already feel your pain.”
The broodmother gently responded, “I can share the pain with Master, but my worry is about losing my independence. Once I’m gone, Master will lose more than half of his power in the world.”
Mountainsea shook her head, “I can help you, and it’ll be like helping myself at the same time. This will be our destiny, are you willing to accept it?”
As she received an image of the future, the broodmother responded with shock, “Your Highness, why would you do this to yourself?!”
“Nevermind that, talk about what will happen to you. Are you okay with it?”
“Then let us start. I’ll call over the people who can hold the ceremony, and it’ll start this time tomorrow. I need your cooperation, you’ll need to lie when needed.”
“Including to Master?”
“Especially to him.”
The broodmother went quiet, furiously running through so many calculations that her body temperature started to spike. However, Mountainsea spoke before she was even halfway done, “This is the best solution we have.”
There was no answer as the broodmother continued her calculations. Her body started ejecting steam to keep her temperature in check, but it still took seventeen full minutes for her to get her final answer. “How did you know this, Your Highness? I’m certain your analytical speed can’t match up to mine.”
“It can’t,” Mountainsea nodded, “I just listened to the voice of destiny.”
The broodmother raised her pincer towards the top of the girl’s head, but she was completely unafraid as she stared straight into hundreds of eyes with two glistening ones of her own. The blade softly touched the top of her braided hair like a gentle caress, “You are correct, our fates may be intertwined after all.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Gem
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA