Book 2, Chapter 206

Future(2)

The vision of the future was like a massive mountain crushing Richard’s heart, leaving him unable to even smile. The joy from a powerhouse like Kellac joining his side was completely washed away by this looming fate. For some reason, he couldn’t disregard these visions even if they were only a slight possibility.

He had achieved greatness at a young age. Few throughout Norland could better him at his age. Landing alone in a powerful secondary plane, cut off from reinforcements, he had quickly gotten himself together and become a qualified leader. However, throughout his life, even including when he had learnt about the nightmare creatures, this was the most despair he had ever felt.

He was left wondering what kind of fate was recorded in the scenes he could not capture. The feeling of knowing the future but only being able to see small bits of it was truly terrible.

A dim light shone over the large table with the map, the glow only going an inch beyond its bounds. The moonlight from the window was the only main source of light, so the room was shrouded in shades of black and grey.

Richard was sitting quietly, his back drawing random lines on the wall behind him. His heart now thirsted for strength more than ever. No matter how he thought about it, the best method to prevent that future was to offer sacrifices to the Eternal Dragon in exchange for great power. He would use the broodmother as a great tool of war, having her twist the outcome of his battles. Magic crystals, divine items, and food were a constant investment into her strength. In other words, the broodmother’s power came from gold.

And be it items to sacrifice or gold to buy with, war was the quickest way to obtain either.

With his mind made up, the rest of the matters would be dealt with. Richard looked up and spoke to Flowsand, “Can you tell me about the gifts of the Eternal Dragon? It’s best if you tell me every variety you know.”

Flowsand snapped back from her own world of thought, nodding in reply, “The Dragon of Eternity and Light has countless gifts on offer. Everyone can be granted different things, his will changes based on the situation of the offerer. However, there are a few large categories— time, divine weapons, abilities, and domains among others. He adjusts the range of gifts based on the offerer’s greatest needs, and picks one at random from that range. This is merely the law of luck in play: luck is a part of one’s power, after all. A lucky fellow could get what he wants each time, while an unlucky one would have to aim for what they want through multiple ceremonies and sacrifices.

“Now, I can only tell you the gifts I know of. Time-related ones are the rarest of the lot; every living being instinctively wishes for immortality.”

The Eternal Dragon had innumerable gifts to give. Flowsand alone could list hundreds, and as she summarised each one the carriage of time unknowingly made its way till midnight.

Richard analysed how best he could combine these gifts as he listened, using them to develop most effectively. By this point, he didn’t care for what needed to be sacrificed anymore.

Just like Flowsand had said, luck was a sovereign law that surpassed planes. The Eternal Dragon had harsh requirements for offerings, and one required luck to gather objects to sacrifice.

Once Flowsand was done with the last type of gift, he brushed her hair and chuckled, “Enough, go to bed! It’s already very late. We have to make sure we’re alert; we will be fighting again tomorrow!”

Flowsand pursed her lips and hummed, “What a fake smile! If you don’t feel like smiling then don’t!”

However, she did not ask Richard why he was so down all of a sudden. If he was going to keep quiet, then that would be the end of it. The two stripped out of their clothes and got into bed, but did nothing more than cuddle.

Richard gazed at the ceiling quietly, devoid of all thought. Flowsand lay in his embrace as she listened to his heartbeat, her mind a bitter blank as well. That sleepless night, the pair of young man and woman seemed to have matured slightly.

……

When the first light of morning shone through the window, Flowsand leapt up and pinched Richard, “Hey, you lazy bum! Get out of bed, we’re still fighting a war today. Tell me, who are we robbing?”

Richard awoke without hurry in front of the girl who was glimmering with enthusiasm, wearing his clothes before he suddenly grabbed her. He stared into her eyes and planted a light kiss on her lips, pinching her face hard, “Your smile’s pretty fake too…”

Putting on her robes, Flowsand immediately left for her own room to get her equipment, checking her scrolls and making preparations for battle. In the meanwhile, Richard stood in front of the morning sun for a long time as he watched the chaotic yet exuberant Bluewater Oasis. He was deep in thought, with no hurry to gather his army and set off.

War was a double-edged sword. It could destroy one’s enemies, but it would also harm oneself. The volcano in his heart was already on the verge of erupting, but he was in no hurry to act. Instead, after just standing there for an hour or so, he simply returned to his room and pondered in the silence.

If those truly were visions of the future, it was even more important that he stay prudent and calm now. The long river of fate was an indomitable existence, meandering through the myriad planes. Regardless of why he had seen that specific image, it was only a possibility of the future that was not fixed. The river was not a single current, instead a mix of countless small flows that covered the past, present, and future.

Given his current strength, he could not compare to a drop of water within that huge river. In other words, a lack of caution could leave him dead before those scenes ever played out. When that moment in fate arrived, he would have lost the right to participate.

Even though everything around him looked peaceful, Richard knew it was actually quite dangerous. Although his army had accomplished many miracles, they were only performed while dancing on a razor’s edge. Outdoing those stronger than him was only a last resort, and there was a limit to how much he could do himself. The moment he met a saint, he would face extreme danger. Even if he could overwhelm his enemy with numbers, it would require a devastating price. A single wrong step would completely end this army with limitless prospects.

Whether he could change the future or not, he wanted to be there. If he were to just die before even accomplishing that, everything else would just be empty talk.

First, he had to return to Norland. Only a fool would be innocent enough to want to use this army to take over all of Faelor. The road back was already halfway paved; Flowsand had obtained the Eternal Passage blessing, all that was left was the Core of Time. The key now was enough of a sacrifice to acquire it. However, that did not need to come through war alone. There were still many other methods, like trade, cheating, or persuasion.

And he had enough items on hand for trades.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA