Book 2, Chapter 71

Trade

Crystalline yellowsteel and maple amber were very rare materials that were used in the crafting of grade 2 runes. The former came from unusual ore veins, while the latter could only be excavated from ancient ruins. Both were extremely scarce in Norland, sold by the gram. This piece of yellowsteel alone would be a hundred thousand gold back home, while the large maple amber could be sold for twice that.

His intelligence reports also gave him some understanding of the economics of this plane. Twenty magic crystals could be sold for nearly 10,000 coins, but that was only in the human empires. Because of how rare mages were and their monopoly on high-end magic equipment, few people purchased these things in bulk. There wasn’t much demand from apprentices either.

And in the Bloodstained Lands, such top-notch materials were worth even less. Because of the chaos in control of the place, transportation costs themselves normally made for a third of the price. Even with all these goods one needed to stay alive to be able to ship them out. Thus, it was considered rather decent for this batch to be sold between 3,000 and 4,000 coins. Back in Norland they would be worth up to 20,000.

The fact that so much yellowsteel and maple amber could be in Stormhammer’s stores without being segregated into their own piles meant that these materials were rather common in this plane, and they had limited use here. The prices indicated that this plane wasn’t very advanced in alchemy, incomparable to the splendour of Norland.

Richard remained composed as he pointed to more than ten materials including the crystalline yellowsteel and maple amber, enquiring about their prices one by one. Sure enough, both were only considered mediocre, priced at 200 to 300 coins.

The magic materials in Stormhammer’s resources were worth a little more than 10,000 coins total, and with open trading channels could be sold back in the human kingdoms for nearly 30,000 gold. Even by looting the Church of Valour Richard had only acquired less than 100,000 but at this small camp on the outskirts of the Bloodstained Lands he’d gotten so much. This land clearly had ample opportunities.

Of course, these opportunities also meant the Bloodstained Lands were rife with fighting. This tribe of half-orcs wasn’t even proficient at magic, but they had such an abundance of materials. It was obvious how these things were collected. Had he not portrayed aggression by executing the Blood Scythe without pause, Richard felt like his own materials would have added to this pile. Stormhammer was only negotiating with him because he revealed formidable magic.

Back in Norland, all these materials would be worth half a million coins! It was only now that Richard realised the true profit of planar warfare— it was ultimately a trade for rare goods between both planes.

Richard picked out all the materials he could use in addition to the box of magic crystals, worth about 8,000 coins in total. “All that, and twenty adult fighters.”

Stormhammer hesitated slightly, but eventually the half-orc waved his hand. The materials were all wrapped up and tossed to Richard, after which he asked in a low voice, “When can I get my goods?”

“Three days later, but I’ll need to activate it for you myself as well. That will take another day to complete.”

Stormhammer smashed a nearby desk with his fist, speaking in a low voice, “I have waited five whole years, a few more days won’t matter! But I hope you won’t let me down!”

Richard seemed oblivious to the half-orc’s murderous glare, weighing the bag in his hand and tossing it over to Gangdor as he spoke lightly, “I’m an esteemed mage, and as such I treasure my reputation. The world of magic is incomparably mysterious, not something ordinary people can understand. I would like to remind you that it is extremely foolish to doubt a mage!”

Another thud, and Stormhammer’s beard blew in the wind. His muscles writhed in anticipation, but he eventually restrained his fury and did not act any further. He merely glared harshly at Richard, “Three days. I’ll be waiting!”

Richard nodded, taking his generous profits along as he left Bloodstone Castle.

When they returned to the inn, Richard clapped Gangdor on the back and said with a laugh, “Well done!”

Gangdor grinned widely as he burst into raucous laughter, “I’m an expert at this! I’ve fooled my enemies into thinking I’m weaker than I am way too often!”

The brute had only activated a little more than half the powers of the rune while wrestling Stormhammer, the boost not even reaching 30%. However, the half-orc had been fooled into thinking that it was the peak of his power. This big fellow had turned purple in the face, the vein on his neck throbbing violently, but it was all an act. He’d even drenched himself with sweat, so much so that he nearly wet the ground he was standing on!

“Get used to your new rune, there will be more in the future,” Richard said before carrying all the materials back to his room. He would sort and organise his immense profit, and with the inspiration from Flowsand he also had a few new rune concepts that he was lacking the materials to act upon. With this and the resources he already possessed, he could make nine standard runes instead of four, or six of the new runes he thought up as well.

However, just before he headed upstairs he saw Waterflower’s figure flash by. From behind, the young lady seemed a little… forlorn?

However, this doubt only flashed for a moment in his mind. Richard returned to his room and sorted out his new materials, setting up his tools to prepare for Stormhammer’s rune.

The rune he was building retained the basic function, but severely lacked in all other areas of performance. The surface area tripled, but Stormhammer’s back was broad enough to fit such a large rune. The parts of the spell formation that required more expensive materials were omitted where possible, while the circuit that lowered the capacity requirement was completely removed.

Lastly, the rune was designed to be active and not passive. The demand for capacity exceeded that of a grade 2 rune, and the energy consumption was 1.5 times higher than Gangdor’s. However, the final boost was only 20%, and even that was not stable.

The only unique part of the design was an absorption array for embedded magic crystals. This allowed the mana in the crystals to activate the rune, one crystal allowing for about an hour and a half of activity. This meant the rune could only be fully activated nine to ten times.

Of course, the purpose of this was not to improve the rune’s functionality. On the contrary, an array absorbing energy from magic crystals was far less complicated and required far fewer materials than other methods like those based on warriors’ energy, mana, vitality, or even spiritual force.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA