Book 3, Chapter 11

Ugliness(2)

The steward was sat at the head of the long table. With Gaton’s children not completely grown, he had complete authority on Gaton’s behalf. However, he felt incomparably isolated from the rest of the meeting despite being the host. Everyone around him was an aristocrat; even the representatives were at least titled knights. In fact, many of the minor branches had simply set their branch heads to the meeting.

The topic of this meeting was inconceivable. The branch families were asking whether they could ‘lend’ some offerings to them so they could enjoy the Eternal Dragon’s favour and develop rapidly as well.

Lending was an easy thing to do, but how would they get it back? The old steward sat perfectly upright, his gaze sweeping past everyone present. Outside of Sauron, Goliath, and Alice, which one of these branches was capable of returning even the lowest grade of offering?

It was Gaton who had made his way into Faust in an unyielding manner, carrying the Archeron name into the city of miracles. Most of these people here normally wouldn’t have the right to even take a step in. Even if Sauron and Goliath wanted to offer sacrifices, they had to go through one of the families of Faust, paying a hefty sum.

The proposal and agreement came from all the small branches. The representatives of Sauron, Goliath, and Alice kept somewhat silent.

For once, the branch families were being smart. None of them asked for the opinions of the three most formidable families. At this crucial juncture, they were far too small and weak, destined to dash ahead and act as cannon fodder. This was the only way they could get a share, although it would be minuscule compared to what the three would take away. It was foolish to try and involve them in this mess during the tentative period, and fools never lived long enough to ascend to high positions.

“We’re only borrowing a small part. Once we receive divine grace and grow stronger, we will naturally return them!”

“Exactly! We swear on the Archeron bloodline!”

“Don’t tell me that if those two never come back, we’ll leave the offerings until they become mouldy? It’s only worth it with an instant conversion to power!”

The clamour in the hall was getting louder by the minute, and more people were getting worked up. A few of the perpetrators had already started discussing the allocation.

Looking at the situation about to fall out of control, the steward finally coughed a few times before speaking up in a low voice, “I need to remind you that these offerings all came from the Deepblue, and Her Excellency Sharon clearly stated that they were exclusively for Richard’s use. Strictly speaking, they do not belong to the Archeron Family. If we use them inappropriately without permission, we might enrage Her Excellency.”

This silenced the hall. Many people looked at each other with dismay, lost for words. Sharon’s glory was not empty talk; no matter how hot-headed and arrogant these idiots got, they would know better than to provoke a legendary mage. This was particularly so when they didn’t have any noble cause or status.

However, the silence was cut short by a middle-aged man, “What proof do you have that this batch is intended for Richard? Even if they came from the Deepblue, she might have just gifted it to the entire family!”

“Yes, yes! Besides, it’s already confirmed that Richard is lost in the streams of time. It’s certain— uh… It’s not known when he can come back. Since that is the case, even if they belonged to him initially they should fall to all of the Archerons! We are all part of the same family, so we should naturally get a share!”

The voices of agreement started to resound through the hall as everyone began to sound more and more confident.

The old butler sighed, “I think it’s better to wait for Master Gaton to return before discussing this again.”

“You think?” a young and arrogant man yelled with disdain all over his face, “You are nothing but a servant. What right do you have to speak here? This is a hall where the Archeron Family discusses official matters. Do you have any Archeron blood in you?”

“Precisely! You just have to act in accordance with our decisions!”

The clamour grew more intense as the people creating the commotion became more active. In any case, they were already being offensive; they simply couldn’t care less as they outrageously tried to force the steward to abdicate. Compared to offending Gaton, whose life and death was uncertain, an opportunity to offer a sacrifice was clearly much more precious. To these small branch families, it was practically nirvana, a rebirth!

Although they had never offered any sacrifices before, they had heard countless legends about the grace of the Eternal Dragon, like a forbidden fruit in the heavens that gave off a captivating scent. They felt like a single bite would transform them entirely, bringing them to the legendary realm.

*THUMP!*

The steward pounded on the table, rendering everyone silent for a moment!

The old man was no powerhouse. Many of the people present could easily inflict serious injuries with a single blow. He had no glorious achievements either; more than sixty years of his life were spent on handling all sorts of trivial matters for the Archerons in the background. The only reason he could sit here was the trust and authority that Gaton had left him with.

And yet, everyone could see a trace of Gaton’s presence in the man. He was majestic and explosive, like an erupting volcano! For just that moment, everyone who was making a racket fell silent.

His gaze swept past the few people who were clamouring the most, and he snorted before speaking loudly, “YOU LOT DESERVE TO BE CALLED ARCHERONS TOO?!”

“You!” As his gaze swept past them, they subconsciously shrunk into their seats. It took a second for their reactions to catch up as they leapt up and roared in humiliated rage, “HOW DARE YOU INSULT THE NOBLE ARCHERONS?”

The old butler didn’t bother about their roars, only declaring in a low and resolute voice, “I don’t care where you got the news about this batch of offerings from, but I’m going to clarify this for the last time. These offerings are for Young Master Richard. Anyone who wants to take them away needs to bring an army!”

This was no different from a declaration of war. Gaton had left behind quite a number of guards on the floating island, as well as a bunch of knights some of whom were rune knights in training. However, most of the latter came from the various branches, making their loyalty questionable. The only ones the steward could rely on were the personal guards Gaton had trained himself. No matter what it was, nothing could change their passive position due to the lack of elite soldiers.

There had been no point in leaving any of his thirteen to keep watch on the island, so Gaton had brought everyone he could to the expedition. The castle here didn’t have too many valuable items. Anyway, should anyone dare to attack it, they would be exterminated the moment Gaton and his troops returned.

The hall grew quiet once more. The greed in the air had not completely drowned out the rationality of the branches. The trauma Gaton had left in their minds was not something that could be eliminated in a scant two weeks.

Many gazes turned towards the representatives of Sauron, Goliath, and Alice. Judging from the current situation, only these three held the authority to resolve their problem. No matter how bold and audacious these branch families grew, they wouldn’t dare to be so brazen as to attack Gaton’s personal guards if they didn’t have a backer. Should the attack fail, they would face an imminent disaster that would wipe out their entire family.

Baron Sua lowered his head, focused on wiping the dagger sheath in his hand. It was as though this situation had nothing to do with him. However, careful observation would reveal a trace of disdain in his eyes.

The representatives of Goliath and Alice didn’t utter a word either. It was as though this entire matter was completely irrelevant to them, but they didn’t mask their haughtiness either. In their eyes, these so-called Archerons in the hall were just a group of monkeys. True Archerons were haughty, crude, and arrogant lunatics that were on planar expeditions everywhere. They used blood and sword to fight for survival, opening up new horizons instead of using words and conspiracy.

Still, if Gaton really couldn’t return or the situation went out of control, they wouldn’t mind ‘borrowing’ some strategic resources for the time being either. This group of monkeys could still serve as cannon fodder then. However, it was still far from the time to disregard it all now.

Without any of the three declaring a position, the clamouring people did not know how to conclude things. The meeting thus ended hastily, and as they left the conference hall the old steward stood taller and straighter than everyone else.

However, this was merely the beginning. The monkeys still hung around the floating island; Gaton had once passed down an order that opened many of the facilities on the island to the branches. As such, the steward had no way to chase them away either.

As time passed, battles continued to erupt over trivial matters. The monkeys tried to display a sense of superiority on many occasions, retaliating against the judgement the steward had passed on them. However, the sentence the old man had uttered during the meeting circulated very quickly.

You lot deserve to be called Archerons too?!

More and more Archerons were starting to appear on the island. They carried an aura of blood and fire, with countless scars on their body and an indescribable savagery in their eyes. The weapons and attire made it obvious they came from different places; subterranean worlds, fields of lava, and sheets of polar ice. No matter where they came from or what level they were at, they had a common trait: their very presence reeked of danger. There weren’t many of them, but put together they could fight thousands of cavalrymen!

Once they arrived at the island, they lived in the most dilapidated of places. They didn’t mind what they ate, as long as it filled their stomachs. Normally only found at training arenas or on patrol, they spent their lives resting, guarding, and training. They seemed like they had nothing to do, no goal in mind.

Nobody outside of the old steward could command them.

These truly were some vicious beasts. They were also from the various branches of the Archeron Family, and they called themselves Archerons as well. They rushed over from all kinds of places without any summon or command. Individually they were mere drops of water, but together they became a torrential current!

In front of them, even the ‘dignified’ monkeys chose to take the long route.

They, they were the true Archerons.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA