Book 9, Chapter 69

Opportunity

With the answers from Ghoul and Blood Axe, Calamity nodded and pulled her aura inwards, “You can join the mission. We’ll divide the bounty equally, but it counts as mine.”

The two other assassins were astonished at this concession. Calamity alone could take care of this mission easily, and there was no need to bring them at all. For her to split the bounty was even more generous; normally, the legendary assassin in this situation would take half the profits while the two sky saints split the rest. Calamity wasn’t even a normal legend; it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for her to get a full two-thirds of the pot.

All in all, this decision would give Ghoul and Blood Axe a lot of money for no reason. Things would have been different if there were some extra goals to hit, but Richard hadn’t mentioned any other rewards for this specific bounty.

While Blood Axe looked like a brute, a knowing glint flashed in his eyes as he spoke up, “If the idea is to get closer to His Excellency Richard, then this much truly is a paltry sum.”

Calamity locked gazes with the man, “You really are as sly as the rumours say. Yes, I want this to count as mine so I can get closer to him. If possible, my organisation is prepared to join the Archerons entirely.”

Blood Axe was taken aback at this news that could shock mainland Norland, “Join the Archerons now? Even if we ignore the reapers, I heard that the Sacred Tree Empire just launched an attack on the Azan Peninsula. They’ve erupted into war!”

Excitement flashed across Wells’s face as he heard this. Richard wasn’t completely invincible, and he definitely couldn’t stand up to the entire Sacred Tree Empire. Once the Archerons were destroyed, he would have a chance to free himself.

However, Calamity seemed to be deliberately wooing the two, explaining with patience, “Do you think there will be another opportunity? The Archerons are weak right now, and those that help will be regarded as core followers.”

“But the Empire…”

“The Empire’s been blocked at Blackrose Castle. Earl Alice has less than a tenth of their number, but they can’t break her defences.”

Despite this news, Ghoul and Blood Axe continued to hesitate. It was surprising enough for the Archerons to be able to block the army of the Sacred Tree Empire in their current circumstances, but being able to hold on for one day didn’t mean they would last longer. The fall of Blackrose Castle would decimate the Archerons; even if Richard was powerful himself, the Empire had people who could go toe to toe with him.

She continued, “Another piece of news is that Prince Greyhawk of the Millennial Empire and the former Grand Warrior of Klandor Asa have arrived at Faust and registered themselves into the reward point system.”

This was staggering news! Asa was well known as the person who had crushed the Millennial Empire’s attempt to claim Klandor, as well as the person who had single-handedly forced back the legends of Daxdus in the Land of Dusk. This was an epic being of great renown, and her husband Greyhawk was one of the four most outstanding individuals in the Millennial Empire during his time. His other three siblings were all legends, and there was no reason to believe he would be any worse.

And yet, this impressive individual might wasn’t even the end of it. Asa was backed by the Azuresnow Shrine while Greyhawk was a prince of the Millennial Empire. Neither would simply join the Archerons simply for some items, but without any confirmation it was impossible to tell just what their true intentions were. Even if Asa only half-counted as supporting the Archerons, and the same was considered of the Celestial Sage, that still effectively meant that was the same number of epics as any of the major empires had in total. That kind of power was also likely to succeed against the reapers!

Richard himself could not be underestimated. If the situation turned dire, he would have to give up on Faelor and return to Azan to deal with his enemies. Not even the three imperial families of the plane could withstand his wrath.

Blood Axe finally spoke up, “Great! If Calamity is joining the Archerons, count me in too.”

“Sure,” she nodded and looked towards Ghoul.

“I don’t have a choice, now, do I?” Ghoul shrugged helplessly, “But why would we have to join ranks?”

Calamity smiled coldly, “Because the way back will be rough as well. I’m not the only person after this rascal, and I need help. This is the most important mission the Archerons have issued in recent times, and many others will be aware of the opportunity to gain Master Richard’s favour. His prospects aren’t limited to the Sacred Alliance.”

The two others finally understood. The underworld was also far more pragmatic than upper class society, respecting power over anything else. So long as Richard stood a chance to reverse the situation, their loyalty was confirmed. In many ways, this was similar to the broodmother’s stated allegiance.

Their next task was to take care of Wells. The guards were all killed in mere moments, and pained cries rang out as all four of the youth’s limbs were torn open and forced shut with secret potions within. He would be completely crippled in a matter of minutes, with the only recourse being to cut everything off and regrow it with legendary divine magic. Blood Axe wrapped him in canvas and hoisted him up, setting off for Blackrose Castle.

It was only a few minutes before a number of blurry silhouettes appeared at the scene of the crime, their expressions turning grim at the sight of the mess. An old man carefully investigated the site and looked up at the three others who had arrived with in, “Ghoul and Blood Axe. It looks like they’ve formed an alliance; the only way to join Master Richard’s side is one of our own. What do you say?”

““Agreed.”” Two assassins made their stances clear immediately, while another middle-aged man hesitated, “Has Calamity not shown itself? This should be a mission they can’t afford to ignore.”

The old man responded solemnly, “My contacts tell me their three strongest members are not in Norland at present; they shouldn’t have been able to arrive in time. As for the woman herself, her whereabouts are unclear. She shouldn’t be interested in a mission so easy, however.”

“Who knows? Things change once we consider the favour of Master Richard,” the last man was still apprehensive.

This prompted a sneer, “Shouldn’t there be some risk involved for such a huge reward?”

This logic was something most assassins agreed with. Nothing was more suspicious than a mission that was too easy for its reward. The middle-aged man’s hesitation stemmed from his fear of Calamity, but such an opportunity was hard to come by. There were rumours from the Archeron ranks that Richard Archeron himself was prepared to take in more followers, regardless of their background or past. Such an opportunity was irresistible.

Even the strongest of beings harboured two near-invariant goals; eternal life and to break through one’s limits. There were times where these goals overlapped as well— becoming an epic being would allow thousands upon thousands of years of life. Richard was the only divine runemaster of Norland, and the number of legends he had built up along his way was mind-numbing. Joining his side was certain to boost one’s chances of breaking into the legendary realm, a deadly temptation to these sub-legendary assassins who had been bottlenecked for a long time.

The biggest bottleneck to the legendary realm came not in energy levels but in laws. In this regard, the sheer number of saint runes Richard could craft was proof enough of his diversity. In addition, Midren’s creation meant that he was even starting to control laws of other primary planes. If he managed to advance further in the future and could decipher the foundational laws of other planes, he was likely to become the premier powerhouse of Norland and unify the entire plane under his control.

With numerous thoughts flashing across his mind, the middle-aged man eventually came to a decision, “I agree to the alliance.”

“Very well,” the old man nodded coldly, “Let us chase after them; I have my ways to track their movements. Even Calamity herself wouldn’t be able to escape my pursuity!”

The four assassins and their subordinates merged into one large pack that quickly set out in one direction.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA