Bevry picked up a pen and pointed to a nearby map, outlining a small area. “I’ve already given you the rank of frontier knight. You know this is a permit for you to campaign against others under my name, but a frontier knight is not a true noble. For future convenience, I’m also making you a titled knight. The family you claim to succeed has good pedigree already, so you can be considered a true member of nobility. As for any higher ranks, you’ll have to fight for them. This is the breadth of your land; take a look, see if there’s anything to supplement.”
Richard moved towards the map, closely inspecting the area the Duke had outlined. The land was a few kilometres in circumference, including what was originally Bran Village. It covered a junction of three areas: the Sequoia Kingdom, the Land of Turmoil, and the Bloodstained Lands. A third of the place was mountainous, with a small river flowing through the centre allowing for farmland on either side.
What concerned Richard more was that the road leading towards the interior of the kingdom passed by the edge of the territory, and there were marks for iron, copper, coal, and sequoia trees in the mountains. Although the area hadn’t been completely developed or even explored yet, this place was rich in minerals. Nobody knew just how vast the underground reserves were.
Richard had learnt a lot about minerals in the Deepblue; he knew that the depths of even ordinary mines had a chance to contain rare materials. There was a hope for these lodes to be the same. As for the sequoia trees, they were the namesake specialty of the Kingdom. They were tough and hard, able to conduct magic well. They were used to make magic bows, weapons, and the like.
If these lands were developed well, they would be no worse than Baron Fontaine’s territory.
“Thank you for your kindness!” Richard said.
The Direwolf Duke waved his large hand, “It’s a small matter. I hope you can start quickly, establishing a proper business. Time is of the essence!”
He had clearly emphasised the last sentence, and Richard understood what that meant. Perrin was now the equivalent of a 70-year-old man. It was impossible for him to become a saint, so if he continued to age at the current rate the best case was for him to last three more years.
“Alright, it’s getting late. Richard, your party can stay a night at Deeprock Castle, we can have dinner together. It will be a good opportunity for me to introduce you to my friends and children.
“Now, about the rune…”
As per Richard’s request, the rune was to be attached in the chief mage’s laboratory. The chief mage was level 14, and his specialisation in healing magic garnered him many friends and apprentices. The man was already over fifty years of age, so the sight of the young Richard left him with a bizarre look on his face.
Richard briefly introduced the rune he had prepared for the Duke. It was a general strength rune with six slots for magic crystals. If all slots were filled, it could give one a steady 20% increase in strength for a duration of three months. However, the rune would break after five uses and had to be changed for a new one.
“20%? Simply unbelievable!” the Duke said as he shed his outer robe, revealing a powerful body covered in muscles. He stood calmly before Richard, the aura of a powerhouse faintly seeping out. Richard then cast a detection spell on the Duke.
A low rumble sounded as Bevry’s body started to glow. Even Richard, someone who always had great control over himself, started trembling slightly. The Direwolf Duke had incredible capacity, with at least six possible slots; the man could easily become a grade 3 rune knight, and top of that add two grade 4 runes! If all of his slots were filled, Bevry would immediately reach the level of Gaton’s thirteen!
The man saw Richard’s expression changing, stretching out a little as he asked casually, “What’s wrong. Am I not suitable for the rune?”
“No,” Richard said after composing himself, “It’s unrelated to the rune. I was shocked by your strength. I didn’t know you already surpassed the strongest powerhouses of the kingdom!”
The Duke flashed a small smile at those words, not saying anything. Rather, it was the chief mage who looked at Richard with a bizarre expression once more. This young mage was only level 11, while the Duke was level 18! It wasn’t impossible for a detection spell to find the Duke’s level, but to do it despite such a difference in level and yet accurately figure out his power was something he himself could not have done at that level.
Richard acted as natural as possible, turning around to busy himself at the workbench. Thankfully he had figured out that Bevry was nearing level 19 with the detection spell, using that secondary knowledge as a substitute for the information on the man’s capacity. In order to nudge this fragile alliance in the direction he needed, he needed to give a reasonable explanation for the smallest of things. The Duke was too sharp for anything but.
He prepared a batch of solvent, before taking the slotted rune out of the enchanted box. He embedded all the magic crystals needed, bursts of magical light condensing into bright spots in the arrays. The fuelling crystal in his hand halved in volume and turned a dull grey.
Before attaching the rune, Richard solemnly spoke up, “There is something I need to explain regarding this rune, Your Grace. Without any knowledge of the characteristics of your strength and the properties of your energy, the rune was built with safety and non-interference in mind. Its amplification is a little worse than that of a tailor-made rune that integrates into the user’s system.
“This rune uses magic crystals as a power supply, and can be used for about a year and a half. The advantage is that it doesn’t draw upon your energy, so it won’t be a burden on the battlefield. However, this decreases the amplification and usage time further. It’s only half as useful as a normal one.”
“That’s alright,” the Duke smiled, “You were very thorough in your considerations.”
The Direwolf Duke held great power, both personally and politically. Before he established full trust with Richard, he definitely wouldn’t allow this foreigner to affect his energy usage. Only in Norland, where runes were an integral part of every powerhouse’s strength, did people allow runemasters to tattoo runes directly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Pei
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA