Book 3, Chapter 9

Ripples(2)

Island 7-2 had already become the focus of the Sacred Alliance. The news of Gaton’s main forces being trapped in the Rosie plane spread like wildfire across the mainland. Outside of the Sacred Tree Empire and Millennial Empire where the Archerons didn’t have much of a reputation, all the nobles were talking about the rarity of a planar portal exploding. However, no matter how one looked at it, the Archerons were an important family in the Sacred Alliance; they were very careful when the topic was mentioned.

The Archeron Family was now incomparably empty. Even a random Marquess could enter their territory and basically tour the place without an issue. But only someone whose head was broken would do so; the normal ones only felt a little pleased. Not many were willing to provoke the bunch of lunatics, the line between madmen and geniuses was often very thin.

Gaton was a man of miracles. There were no enemies that could not be crushed under the weight of his greatsword and Darkmoon Ember’s iron hooves. Who would dare say the Rosie plane could keep a volcano such as him trapped forever?

And thus, island 7-2 was like a slab of meat that radiated a draconic aura. Even though a pack of wolves was surrounding it, none dared to take the first bite. Every group wanted someone else to test the waters.

There were actually a lot of people on the island itself. However, most of them were sent by the branch families for various reasons. Of course, the true intentions behind these fellows being here couldn’t be more evident.

Ever since Gaton went missing, his steward had become the busiest person on the island. Not one of the five remaining knights was keeping watch here, and Gaton’s children were still small. Wennington and Venica were only fourteen or fifteen years old and lacked the power to control the situation. Their mothers’ families were already trying to impede each other, so how could they frighten the wolves and tigers from the branches?

Within a few days, the man was left wan and haggard, like he had aged ten years in the blink of an eye. He had already relayed the news to the five knights who were guarding other planes, but they had all replied that they had to remain. As long as the planar portals were under guard, those planes would still belong to the Archerons. Anyone who was sent out to defend a plane had to have an eye for strategy; they immediately saw the root of the problem. The only issue was that the steward had to suffer a little.

The steward was only a servant after all, while those of the branch families were still nobility. The more of them that arrived, the harder his life became. An increasing number of people were trying to order him around, and he still had the problem of protecting Gaton’s wealth. Although nobody had the guts to break into Gaton’s own room yet, semi-public places like the library, laboratory, and parlour had been infiltrated by wandering relatives. They were ‘losing’ items much more often than normal.

As the steward hurried past the castle, a servant suddenly ran over to him while out of breath, “Steward! There’s a magical message from the Deepblue. Without the Lord here, only you can receive it.”

The old steward was stunned, quickly following the servant down to the castle’s basement. Gaton’s personal guards were still around here, it was one of the most central regions of the castle. The old man entered the area, steadying his breathing and standing firm before he pushed open the door that was engraved with a transmission array that could cover great distances.

Once he entered, the old steward immediately saw a grey dwarf floating in mid-air, reading what seemed to be a heavy tome. This was a magical image, not the person himself. As someone who once dealt with everyday matters concerning the Deepblue in Gaton’s place, he recognised the financial officer who worked for Sharon.

Upon seeing the old steward, the grey dwarf jumped up and yelled, “You came so slowly! You know how much it costs to keep a communication channel up over such a long distance? We’re even transmitting images, I’m burning gold by the second!”

The old steward smiled wryly, he was just a normal person who was not even level 10, and an old man at that. He was already out of breath running down to this place, how could he have come faster?

Blackgold had already grown impatient, not waiting for an answer before he followed up, “Hurry up and get ready, I’m sending things over right away! These are all to be reserved for Richard, no one else is allowed to use them! There are a lot of things, don’t you get confused.”

The magic circle slowly lit up, emitting waves of mana as packages, boxes, and specially sealed magic chests were sent over one after the other. The old steward moved about in a flurry, shifting them out of the circle so the next items could be sent over.

New items were continuously sent over on the magic circle with no end in sight, causing the old steward to break out in sweat from the exhaustion. The items weren’t too heavy, but it was incredibly taxing for him to bend over constantly. By the time the transmission ended, the pile of items next to him was almost as tall as himself.

“Transmission complete! Let me reiterate, this is all prepared for Richard!” Blackgold said with a sharp voice, immediately cutting off the communication. He wasn’t willing to waste a single second longer on such an expensive task.

The steward immediately began to carefully organise the items that were sent over. Fortunately, most were properly packaged and looked like they could be kept for a long time; nobody knew when Richard would return. On every item was a set of instructions explaining its type, quantity, preservation method, and so on.

The more the old steward read, the more shocked he was. He could be considered experienced and knowledgeable, and he realised that these were all offerings that could be taken to the Church of the Eternal Dragon! No matter the quality, offerings were offerings. They could not be bought with gold as one pleased, nor were they something the average noble could even think about. Every single item felt scaldingly hot in the steward’s hands.

The old steward took a few hours to organise all the offerings and register them in a list. The list was so long it dazzled him, and he could barely breathe. He steadied his mind before calling in a few of Gaton’s trusted personal guards to bring them all to a special storeroom and seal them. Done with that, he brought the list with him and moved to the upper floors of the castle.

As he passed by a flight of stairs, he saw a girl suddenly hurry over. Her head held low, she almost bumped into the old steward. She immediately straightened up, falling into a panic the moment he saw his face, “Sorry! I’m sorry!”

The steward remembered that this was the partner Richard had chosen, Coco. He gave way with a smile, and she immediately left in a hurry. She was clearly flustered, but with the list burning in his mind the eyes that never missed a single detail didn’t notice how strange she was acting.

He returned to his room and carefully hid the list before leaving in a hurry. There were just far too many things for him to do on this island. Gaton’s— no, Richard’s wealth had now increased a thousand-fold, and the responsibility of protecting it all fell on his old shoulders. It was such a heavy burden that his ramrod back was starting to hunch.

Without any ferocious hounds to guard it, a piece of fresh meat would always attract vicious wolves. This time, the wolves were already circling around. The old steward didn’t know that the contents of the list had ended up in someone’s hands the very next day, quickly spreading across the entire upper class of Faust. Outside of some of the more powerful families, any who saw the list were unable to remain calm. This was especially true of people like the Schumpeters and Josephs who had used up almost all their resources.

Still, no matter how much a powerful family had declined it would still exercise patience and only move after it acquired intelligence and came up with a plot. However, the Archeron branch families were nothing of the like. Always fickle and impatient, they were especially proactive now that they saw a chance.

It wasn’t long before some of the Archerons had found all sorts of excuses to talk to the old steward, trying to find ways to hear about the offerings. The man was incredibly tough, sending all of them back. He dismissed a few of the servants he suspected of betrayal, but couldn’t touch Gaton’s personal guard. They had no problems when it came to loyalty when Gaton was present, but without their master there who could vouch for their honour in the face of great benefits?

Things calmed down on the surface, but this was only the beginning of a larger wave. The steward was relying on Gaton’s remaining forces to stay put, but as the days passed without news of him that power would only wane.

And thus, the people on the island were all a little agitated, just each with different reasons.

……

As day turned to night once more, Coco quietly left her residence. Borrowing the darkness of the night as a cover, she arrived at a small forest next to the castle. This place was hidden in the shadow of the castle, and outside of an area with some miscellaneous trees that led to a steep cliff coming from the family volcano, there was nothing else. Not even the nightly patrols would come here; it was rather well-hidden.

A young man was already waiting in the forest. Seeing her rush over, he immediately beckoned to her and said excitedly, “You’re finally here!”

Coco’s struggle showed on her face. She spoke with hesitation, “But I… I shouldn’t be here. I… I’m Richard’s partner after all.”

This was the young knight that Richard had seen twice before. In the scant few months, his aura had clearly grown stronger. He took a step forward and grabbed Coco’s shoulders with force, saying in a low voice, “Coco. Look at me! I’m already an official knight now, and I can even equip three runes! I’m still young, and have place to grow. It won’t be too long before I can equip another and become a real rune knight!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Pei

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA