Richard actually nodded in agreement to Flowsand’s words, “Yeah, Olar’s warsong and song of exhaustion are really useful weapons. I wonder where he learnt them. However, it will be a huge problem if the opponents have a bard as well.”
“There seem to be few bards in Faelor. You should be looking out for shamans,” Flowsand warned.
“Mm, that’s why Zendrall is important as well.” Zendrall was a high-level necromancer, so his large-scale curses were a great way of restricting opposing shamans and clerics.
“Also, what’s with Phaser? She has an aura of the divine around her, she might be able to learn magic in the future.” This was the first time Flowsand had spoken up about Phaser since her appearance.
“She’s… Hmm, how do I put this…” Richard wanted to explain, but he remembered the broodmother’s warning, “She’s a special drone that draws on divinity for her power. She has a mind and soul of her own, so we might be better off treating her like an actual person.” Richard still knew very little about the broodmother herself, forget divinity and the soul. He didn’t know how to accurately describe Phaser.
Flowsand creased her brows, falling into deep thought. However, Richard glanced at a clock and slapped her butt hard, “Alright, it’s time. Beautiful Miss Flowsand, you have two choices right now. You’ll have to go with me to see what went wrong with Fontaine’s side tomorrow either way, so you can be good and go back right away. If you don’t want to leave, then let’s get down to proper business!”
Flowsand quickly leapt out of Richard’s arms as her face turned towards the door. Yet, her body moved backwards instead of forwards as she leaned back into Richard’s embrace and rested her head on his shoulders. Her arms reached around the back, holding onto his waist for support as she ground against him slowly but vigorously. “Can you, young man?” she whispered slightly, the words almost inaudible.
“Why don’t you find out?” Richard heard a loud boom within himself, as if a volcano was erupting in his body. He couldn’t hold himself back at all, pinning her to the map and making himself in immediately. What followed after was simply an explosion of chaos.
Flowsand’s screams were hoarse and a little hysterical, only causing the raging inferno within to burn incomparably brighter. He was almost unable to support himself, for a split second thinking he was trampling over Faelor’s mountains and rivers. This woman was just so irresistible.
The great battle was intense and lasting. By the time Richard finally subdued the cleric, he was already deathly exhausted. He even needed Flowsand, who was the one who was pinned down in the first place, to cast a vitality spell on him. Only under the triple effects of the spell, his own rune, and an energy potion he chugged down did he start to feel better.
Sending Flowsand away, Richard pulled himself together with some difficulty as he began to wrap up his work on Nature’s Domain. What could originally have been completed within two hours took double that time.
Richard took his clothes off, soaking the rune that was drawn on magical paper in solution. He then identified the position for the rune, fitting it onto the right side of his chest. The magic arrays on the cloth lit up at once, countless streaks branded into his chest as they heated up like golden-red threads. The pain was comparable to placing a soldering iron on one’s body, but Richard was already used to such a thing. He just let out a grunt, enduring the agony as if it was nothing.
A few potions later, Richard’s mana had already fused with the Nature’s Domain rune. His perception of the surrounding forest grew clearer and clearer, the fuzzy elven bloodline within him growing distinct and powerful.
What surprised Richard the most was the strengthening of his connection with Norland’s seven moons. This was particularly so for the seventh, the golden moon. He could only sense it rarely before, but now it was much more present. He had never been able to use the power of the seventh moon before.
Once he ensured that his body and runes were in good condition, he began to meditate and rest. The mana piercing rune could be put off until a later date, even a month or two would be no problem. Nature’s Domain had greatly boosted his summoning spells, making him as good as a druid of the same level. More ideas came to his mind for the piercing rune as well; once the ideas were realised completely, the final rune would be grade 2.
Even at grade 2, runes that boosted magic weren’t common. On the other hand, his own rune would be able to drop an enemy’s magical defences and resistance by an entire two levels. A grade 5 shield would only be as effective as grade 3 under the influence of his power.
However, there was another major significance to that. This rune would finally allow him to officially join the ranks of true runemasters!
The framework of the magic arrays was already completed. He just needed to finish some calculations and choose the materials for the rune; it was merely a matter of time.
Even for someone as calm as him, the idea of becoming a true runemaster set off a whirlwind of emotions deep in his heart. He couldn’t help but think back to the lives of those saint runemasters, powerful and glorious heroes in Norland’s history. How many of them were true runemasters by the age of seventeen? Did he already have his own place in the history books?
Sadly, the memories left him a little dejected. There was no lack of young geniuses amongst the saint runemasters. Outside of Saint Peter, who had only made sudden progress in his middle age to create the divine rune sets, most other saints had been great intellectuals. Some had even become true runemasters at the age of twelve or thirteen, or were extremely quick to progress when they took up the craft.
Truth be told, there was no lack of gifted individuals in Norland. There were many in history who had advanced earlier than Richard had; it was just that most remained stuck without much progress for the rest of their lives. Only a small minority even became great runemasters.
Still, Richard smiled as he set all his excitement, anticipation, and apprehension aside. Even as a grade 1 set, Breath of Darkness was enough for him to leave his mark on the ages…
A night of meditation passed quickly, and early the next morning he had already finished breakfast and gathered all of his companions. His equipment packed, he left for Twilight Castle in the company of tens of desert warriors and barbarians.
Amongst the small troop were twenty throwers, looking like hybrids of troggs and dwarves. They were clad in custom leather armour, each with five hatchets hanging from their belts. However, their mightiest weapons were the bone axes on their backs.
The troop was led by an elite thrower, a creature that possessed power equivalent to a level 10 warrior. This was two levels higher than the power of the average thrower, and atop that the elite possessed outstanding intelligence and authority that allowed it to command its lesser kin. It was used to relay Richard’s orders to the remaining drones. Such elite units would only grow more relevant as the scale of the wars continued to increase.
Richard’s army wasn’t particularly large, only about a hundred strong, but with both his common soldiers and elites depleted in the battle against Sinclair, the new Baron didn’t have any way to resist it.
However, this change in the young baron truly was too abrupt. Less than half a month had passed since Richard had fought side by side with his father, but the boy’s attitude had already changed completely. Richard didn’t believe this was for no reason. However, an internal battle for power couldn’t possibly have caused such effect so quickly. After all, the young baron was the appointed successor to the position. As his liege, the Direwolf Duke himself guaranteed the boy’s rule.
On the other hand, Richard had just established an alliance with that same duke. Bevry couldn’t possibly resort to such useless tricks behind his back, there was simply no need. If the Duke wanted to harm Richard, he could just hand him over to a church. The man clearly had expectations for this alliance; the 200,000 gold in currency and supplies was proof enough of that.
Although Richard had only known the old baron for a while, they had gone through a life and death battle together. His knowledge, wisdom, and excellent swordsmanship had left a deep impression. If it wasn’t necessary to do otherwise, Richard was still willing to act unaware of the cold treatment of the baron’s remaining family. However, Fontaine’s lands happened to be in the middle of Richard’s own lands and the heart of the Sequoia Kingdom. Some major trade routes passed through those lands, and if he wanted to avoid them he would need to detour for almost a hundred kilometres. Many cheap, bulk goods would become more expensive to transport than to buy.
Moreover, there was zero development in his new fief. The large swathe of land was almost devoid of human habitation, and supplies from the Fontaines were absolutely necessary to actually get it somewhere. No matter what, Richard wouldn’t let problems with logistics arise at his own base. If the matter wasn’t settled right away, his lands would constantly be pressured under dagger point. He would head over to Twilight Castle himself, and find out who was manipulating these events. The new baron was basically still a child; that boy didn’t have the courage and experience to try this with him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hestia
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA