It was rather late into the night when they returned to the inn, but Richard wasn’t feeling sleepy at all. He rearranged all the magic alarms and traps in their surroundings.
Assassins were the nemeses of mages, but there were still a handful of ways to deal with them. High-level alarms and traps would render most of their kind helpless, and many spells could lock onto and track one’s soul. Any assassin that was caught by a mage wouldn’t have long to survive.
This was all the more true in Faelor, where the standard of magic was much weaker than in Norland. The abilities Richard had gained from the Deepblue would ensure that even an antimage would find it hard to break in, forget a regular assassin. Only a level 14 mage could remove Richard’s alarms, but mages couldn’t hide their aura like assassins. It would be near impossible for them to get past Waterflower’s sensitive nose.
Once he was finished with the defences, Richard took out the rune that he had just crafted and walked towards the barracks. A bright bonfire was lit in the middle of the peaceful camp, most of the tents rolled down without much movement outside of the nightly patrol.
The only place that still had some semblance of activity was near the fire. Tiramisu and Gangdor were sitting together, drowning out their sorrows in alcohol. Next to them was a pile of empty barrels, and two that were still unopened. It was obvious that it wasn’t enough.
An iron pot was perched over the bonfire, with the ogre’s signature soup boiling within. However, it seemed like Tiramisu was the only one interested in food as he had a plate before him. The only things in front of Gangdor were jars of alcohol.
Richard walked over and sat down, passing the box over to Tiramisu, “This is a rune I made for Medium Rare, a standard elementary strength. None of us could have guessed that it would never be put to use.”
Tiramisu was stunned, unable to receive the case from Richard, “Master… We are… ogres. Can we even use runes?”
“All living beings can use runes,” Richard replied.
Tiramisu still did not take the magically sealed box, scratching his head out of habit as he asked, “I never heard of an ogre that could use runes. This is expensive stuff, you can get many barrels of wine with it.”
“A standard elementary strength rune is worth about 100,000 gold in Norland,” Richard answered indifferently. What he didn’t mention was that his own runes were usually worth much more than market price. The one he had made for Medium Rare would go for at least 150,000 coins due to a greater boost.
“100,000 gold… Even quality ale costs 10 gold a barrel, I can actually get 10,000 barrels with this! If I exchange half of it for cows, I can get 3,000! If I spend carefully, I’d be set for the rest of my life!” Tiramisu quickly calculated the value of the runes in his own terms. Ogres were actually smart creatures, and their mages were used to numbers as well.
“Indeed.” Richard pushed the case towards him.
The ogre shook his head profusely, eyeing the thing rather weirdly as if it was a bunch of delicious meat and wine instead of a box, “Medium Rare can’t use it anymore. Give it to someone else, Master, don’t waste it.”
“This belongs to your brother, no one else.” Richard fixed his gaze upon the bonfire, sighing, “The two of you have been by my side for a long time now, but I haven’t been able to give you anything. Consider this a memento for Rare’s sake. If you want you can bury it with your brother like humans do, as a companion.”
“Brother doesn’t need to be buried, he’ll be together with me very soon,” Tiramisu pointed to the pot of boiling soup. Only then did Richard notice something floating in the middle. Although it was only a third of its original size, this was undoubtedly Medium Rare’s head. Indeed, then. With the body already burnt to ashes by magical flames, there was nothing left to bury.
Tiramisu took the pot down, ignoring the scalding heat as he held up the head and gnawed at it. Every movement was solemn and serious like in a devout ritual, the ogre himself seeming rather divine.
Richard and Gangdor watched in silence.
Moments later, the only thing left of Medium Rare was his skull. His brother had not let go of any flesh at all. It seemed like the soup was cooked using a secret method, because the skull both shrank down and gained a jade-like turquoise sheen that was completely different from a regular skull.
Soon after, the ogre emptied all the contents of the pot before sticking his tongue in and licking every nook and cranny clean. It was only then that he threw it aside, patting his belly loudly, “Ah, I can feel brother settling down nicely.”
He then took out an iron chain that he had prepared earlier on, threading it through the skull and hanging it on his neck. “Now he’ll be able to watch me avenge him.”
Richard looked over the mage from head to toe, “Well, use the rune for yourself then. It could be a companion that way too.”
Tiramisu didn’t think much of that, merely laughing happily. In his heart, this rune truly was a fitting companion for his brother.
The process of attaching the rune was quite simple. The ogre had both the slot and the capacity, so within a few minutes Richard had fixed it onto his chest. This way, Medium Rare’s skull could rest directly upon it. As for the extent of the strength boost, none present looked into it.
Ogre mages were different from the mages of other races. Their ability at magic was weaker in comparison, but they were extremely strong and had tough physiques. Even as the smartest of ogres, they did not forget about their primal battle instincts. As long as a hammer was brought into the picture, Tiramisu would become a dreadful killing machine.
The three then sat around the bonfire, all drinking in silence. The two barrels of wine were emptied very quickly, but none of them was tipsy in the slightest. Their faces were all serious as they focused on the jumping sparks. No conversation was made; they all seemed to be thinking about something.
The wine was soon gone. Gangdor tipped the last barrel upside down, but only a pathetic few drops fell out and he tossed it aside begrudgingly. He thoughtlessly grabbed his huge axe, wiping it as he asked, “Master, don’t you hate Red Cossack?”
Richard flashed a smile typical of nobility, shaking his head as he replied gently, “Hate? No, I don’t. There’s no need to hate the dead.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Gem
Edited By: Theo
TLC By: OMA