Once the matter with Zim was settled, Richard wrote a few letters that very night and sent a few quick-witted subordinates to Bluewater Oasis and Deeprock City.
One of the letters was addressed to Sir Chanton, telling him to send magic crystals worth 50,000 gold with the next batch of supplies. That was enough for a hundred magic crystals on the market, and with Chanton’s ability he could probably get close to 120. This would be enough to give the broodmother three more grade 4 skills, and allow her to get to level 5 as well well. At that point, she would be capable of creating combat drones at level 10.
The other few letters were addressed to Devon, Amon, and Bivier from Bluewater. Richard needed a new batch of barbarians and desert slaves from Devon, as a large number of his current troops had already been granted the freedom. The barbarians were only fighting for him out of gratitude, helping out at a time where he desperately needed their support. However, it was only a matter of time before they would leave for their homeland. Their love for their ancestral plains was something poets waxed lyrical about in their writings.
As for Amon, Richard hoped for an official alliance with Marquess Anrick. He also wanted to employ a troop of elite swordsmen; the Saint Swordsman Rolf was not just famous for his swordsmanship, but also for his ability to train troops.
As for Bivier, Richard was looking for a batch of refined carbon steel and lafite steel.
Once all these resources were acquired, Richard would be completely out of funds, including all that he would earn from the restored runes that he hadn’t yet sold. However, that destitution would be exchanged for an unprecedented, formidable military might! This wasn’t just fervently building up an army. No, Richard was giving it his all and betting everything on a single throw!
The scale of this army made it obvious that it wasn’t meant for defence. Richard was looking like a complete warmonger, ready to seize what he wanted with weapons and bloodshed.
He could not explain this sudden impatience. Or rather, he knew deep down in his heart, but he was unwilling to admit it. Thoughts of Sharon, the Deepblue, and Mountainsea brought him great distress. The blessings of wisdom and truth didn’t just mean that he planned everything carefully. These traits also imperceptibly influenced his state of mind. He could only stay calm when everything was within his control, and any changes were within his expectations.
Calmness was often just another word for indifference.
Having stayed too long on Faelor, Richard had almost forgotten everything about Norland. However, now that he thought about these things again, and the three promises he had made, he felt a fire burning in his chest.
He wanted to transcend the limitations of the planes. For Sharon, he wanted to finish the Deepblue Aria. He wanted to defeat all of the Archerons, to put his mother’s tombstone on the peak of that volcano.
But what about Mountainsea? Had he made any promises to that aggressive and domineering young lady? Richard couldn’t recall any, but he still felt like he had to visit Klandor just to see her ones. As for what would happen when they met, not even the gods could predict that.
Richard was terribly unsettled that night, but no matter how long a night was the sun would eventually rise. Without a wink of sleep to his name, Richard’s eyes were completely bloodshot. His mind was still racing, analysing the topography for the potential distribution of minerals in his surroundings.
The next week passed peacefully, but the situation was continually in flux.
Fontaine behaved as expected, growing more harsh once Zim had left. Perhaps it was unintentional. But a batch of goods from Deeprock City had been hijacked under his watch. All the men carrying the goods were completely annihilated, with not a single soul surviving. Naturally, all the goods disappeared. Even though these were iron ingots without much value, the team had more than ten blacksmiths.
Richard kept a close watch on every one of the Baron’s moves. Within a short week, his defence had been strengthened greatly. A troop of over 300 Golden Sparrow swordsmen had been stationed in forts just outside Twilight Castle. It didn’t take much knowledge to realise these swordsmen that were level 6 on average came from Earl Yatu’s private troops. The Azure Deer seemed very enthusiastic in protecting his new subordinates. Whoever wanted to attack Twilight Castle would be waging war against the Earl himself.
As for the switch in Fontaine’s alliance, the normally intense Direwolf Duke kept silent. This was proof that Bevry’s strength was not great enough to decide the outcome. At the most, he could control Duke Grasberg’s movements through politics. After all, even the Direwolf Duke could not fight on two sides. The Whiterock Duke was a far bigger monster than Grasberg, and he had no confidence in victory.
Sir Chanton had indicated in private that Richard could act whenever he wanted, but the unspoken understanding was that he would then have to bear the consequences by himself. Or most of the consequences, anyway. The Direwolf Duke was in the midst of an attack on Earl Jayleon; those dragon bones weren’t of much use to him personally. Richard guessed these things were to be used as an offering. Perrin’s importance to the Duke was quite evident; he was definitely more valued than Richard.
On top of that, even though Chanton hadn’t mentioned anything Richard could guess that Bevry had been adequately reimbursed for Fontaine’s switch. Thus, he would have to face the pressure from Zim’s family alone.
The Duke had given him a safe haven in the form of that troop of swordsmen. Their duty would be to ensure he and Flowsand could return safely to Deepcliff City. As long as the two of them did not perish, the altar could be built and the Direwolf Duke could pay for the construction himself. However, that force was also indicative of Bevry’s feelings towards subsequent developments. Using those swordsmen would mean Richard would lose all independence, no longer an equal party in negotiations. partnership with the Duke.
Thankfully, there was some silver lining in the midst of all this bad news. His allies in Bluewater had turned out to be more reliable than expected.
Devon had sent 50 barbarians and 300 desert warriors. Bivier had gathered all the metal Richard required, and even added ten ballistae and 500 bolts.
As for Amon, he offered a combat treaty; if Richard could successfully help Rolf defeat his enemies around Bluewater, he would be granted a seat in the Bluewater Council. The Venomous Scorpion Michla, with more than 500 soldiers under his charge, would be the first target. Amon placed a bounty of twenty coins for the death of each subordinate of the Venomous Scorpion, and ten magic crystals for Michla’s death.
Magic crystals… Richard was increasingly starting to like those words.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Nugget
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA