Book 2, Chapter 155

Bargaining Chip

Richard had done his research on Bevry before the meeting, so he knew instantly that the riders who had just passed them were from the Knights of the Direwolf. However, the Knights of the Direwolf were more than a thousand strong. If the weakest of them were level 8, this was a terrifying force that was more than a match for his own army.

WIth superior equipment, comprehensive training, and a capable general in charge, a group of elites could easily wipe out an entire army on the battlefield even if their opponents were of similar level to them. The mere group of ten knights that had passed caused Richard to feel more pressure than a hundred horse bandits.

Looking at each other, both he and Flowsand had a common line of thought. Only after looking at the majesty of Deepcliff City could they figure out the might they needed to conquer Faelor. In fact, the two of them had already made some analyses; if they wanted to conquer the entire plane, they would need the full strength of one of the three human empires from Norland! After all, Faelor was only a few levels below Norland and there was minimal difference in area.

This plane was like a humongous mountain of cheese, but his own might here was less than an ant’s. Careless greed would cause him to suffer, maybe even die under this mountain’s pressure.

The Duke’s messenger brought Richard to a small inn at the southern plaza, quickly scurrying back to the castle to arrange a meeting. The old knight repeatedly warned Richard to stay in the city before he left, awaiting news of the appointment. Duke Bevry would likely fix an appointment with him the very next day.

When night fell, Richard entered Flowsand’s room to find her healing Waterflower. The young lady had sustained life-threatening injuries in the battle with Sinclair, only saved because of the cleric’s best efforts. Even though the injuries seemed to be healed on the surface, Waterflower’s internals were still damaged. She needed Flowsand to regularly cast Rejuvenation on her to speed up the recovery.

Once the spell was cast, traces of weariness appeared on Flowsand’s face. She sent Waterflower out and sat by the desk, opening a mana recovery potion and slowly drinking it. Such potions aided clerics as well, although they were less effective than they were for mages. Without a shrine to the Eternal Dragon being present on Faelor, Flowsand was left with no choice but to waste her potions.

Richard sat beside her, inspecting her face carefully as he examined her aura. His face suddenly warped, “Was your mana pool damaged?”

Flowsand grunted in agreement, speaking indifferently, “It’s alright, this is the price I had to pay to force my level up. It’s a good thing that the damage isn’t too great. I didn’t lose a level; this is the best I could have hoped for.”

Richard sighed, but he did not know how to console her. If she hadn’t forcibly used the Lens of Time to slow Sinclair down, all of them would have perished at the hands of that demonic lady. However, the consequences of that decision were beginning to reveal themselves. Even though her mana pool would continue to increase as she levelled, what was lost would not come back.

Flowsand smiled at Richard’s concern, holding his hand in hers as she spoke gently, “This is the price I had to pay. The decision was already made, so there is no need to dwell on it. I know why you are here; you want to discuss how we hook the Duke when we meet him tomorrow, no?”

Richard nodded with a frown, “Looking at Deepcliff City and the Knights of the Direwolf, I’m afraid our old ideas won’t work. The Duke became a saint long ago, and he has political power as well. Individual power might not be as important to him as we expected. He needs a number of powerful elites serving him; he himself won’t have many chances to show his prowess. Neither runes nor magic equipment increase one’s intrinsic power, so a watered-down rune isn’t of much importance to him. If someone like the Church of Valour is prepared to offer him a divine or even half-divine weapon like the Axe of Valour, then it would be much more useful than any rune I can make. Unless, of course, I’m willing to tailor-craft a rune set for him.”

“If you really want to do so, don’t expect him to go easy on you,” Flowsand said with a faint laugh.

Richard sighed helplessly, “Yes, I think so too. However, Bevry knows that there are some problems with our background. The gods of this plane are very generous when it comes to destroying invaders of other planes.”

Flowsand smiled sweetly and said, “Any god in any plane is the same. In fact, the gods of Faelor are actually quite slow to react. This plane has probably seen large armies from primary planes before.”

“Whatever it is, I’m worried the Duke will give us to the church as gifts.”

“That is not impossible.” Flowsand held her head in hand, falling into thought for a while before she spoke up once more, “It seems like we need to find something more attractive than a boost to his strength.”

“Something more important than strength….” Richard muttered. His eyes suddenly lit up, “That’s it! The most important thing to a powerhouse is their lifespan. Isn’t the very reason the Eternal Dragon is revered over the other gods that he is the only one that can grace someone with time?”

Flowsand saw Richard’s intentions, and her own eyes started sparkling as well. She spoke quickly, “Yes! How could I have forgotten this? I have the Book of Time. Even though I can’t make a sacrifice through it to give anyone an extended lifespan, I can still fool Bevry into thinking I can prolong his life! This might actually work…”

Richard suddenly remembered that there was another deity of time in this plane, “Oh right, what about Runai? Doesn’t he control the same domain as the Eternal Dragon?”

Flowsand laughed mildly, “Runai wouldn’t even be a greater deity on a primary plane, how could he call himself the God of Time? I paid attention to him and his teachings; his powers can only warp the speed of time. It’s a mere distortion, and the warped time eventually returns to normal. If you step in and out of its field of influence, you won’t discover any changes.

“Also, I didn’t find any records of a significant prolonging of one’s life in this plane. If Runai was a true God of Time, an extension to one’s life would be a blessing granted to the core of his church, given to worshippers who made great contributions to him.”

After a slight pause, Flowsand continued, “Most importantly, the power of time transcends that of the planes. Any deities who control time are beyond their very planes. So there can’t be a God of Time that is restricted to this plane.”

This was information Richard was not aware of; it was also one of the true mysteries in the myriad planes.

Flowsand gazed into Richard’s face, a faint golden glow in the depths of her eyes, “Besides, your life force still contains the divine grace of the Eternal Dragon. That should be proof enough that the Eternal Dragon’s will is above that of this plane’s gods. This Runai is not something we need to worry about.”

Richard shook his head, “Not necessarily. If Runai finds out about you, he will be the one god that wants to kill us the most. He will enter a frenzy that knows no bounds.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA