Book 3, Chapter 40

Glory(2)

Many people had worked tirelessly to come here from all over the country. There were even some from the Sacred Tree Empire and Millennial Empire; the long journey meant they had to take a laborious route with several flying beasts. Even the countries hostile to the Sacred Alliance had sent their agents. Second-hand information was not nearly as reliable as having an actual pair of eyes on the event.

As far as the large empires were concerned, a growing number of normal runemasters meant an ever-increasing army of rune knights. Furthermore, any breakthrough on the part of the royal runemaster would strengthen the powerhouses of the Alliance greatly. This meant there was a lot of interest in Lunor’s rune convention, with even non-humans trying their luck to obtain information on the convention.

The convention was held in Faust’s largest public temple, and the royal runemaster had booked an entire hall. The Temple of Glory was as old as Faust itself, having existed in the city when it was first discovered. The temple had played host to numerous large-scale events in history, from musical performances to rune conventions. Over time, it had become a customary location for all rune conventions.

On top of the official convention, Lunor’s proudest student was announcing a rune of his own. Although it seemed like Foster only had an ordinary grade 2 rune to show, it still signified the addition of a new runemaster to the Sacred Alliance. This would greatly increase their strategic might.

Still, not many people were interested in him. Most were here solely to see Lunor, knowing that the Sacred Alliance was the youngest of the three human empires and had a shallow foundation. Runecrafting in the Alliance was not as advanced as the others, but a grade 4 rune from Norland would make up for a major portion of the difference. Besides, Lunor breaking through would also increase the skills of his students.

And yet, a mere day before the convention, an explosive piece of news resounded throughout the Alliance. Richard Archeron would be holding a rune convention on the same day!

In any other situation, this would just be a new runemaster introducing themselves to the public eye. Not much could be gained from such a convention. However, Richard’s convention was surprisingly also to be held at the Temple of Glory. What’s more, he had also booked himself a large hall directly facing Lunor’s!

Those who were sharp quickly sensed the strangeness of it all. Their interest in Richard grew considerably, with information on him being shared everywhere. The topic most discussed was the evaluation that he was a future saint runemaster. Although it sounded ridiculous, it was something that had come straight from the mouth of a legendary mage, Her Excellency Sharon!

Of course, there were few people who understood just how valuable and trustworthy such an assessment from Her Excellency was.

Richard was completely unprepared for such a circumstance. It was only when Noelene personally handed him the details of the convention that he realised it was even at the same venue. However magnanimous Lunor was, he would likely take such an action to be an unacceptable direct challenge. And Lunor had never been known for his generosity.

Looking through the details over and over again, Richard raised his head and gazed directly into Noelene’s eyes, “Priestess Noelene… You seem very keen to see me and Grandmaster Lunor on opposing ends, setting up a situation where mediation is not an option.”

Noelene smiled, “Yes, but that isn’t the complete truth. We made these arrangements partly so that more people can view your runes. A small price like this should be worth becoming a royal runemaster, no?”

“A royal runemaster?” Richard had heard this many times.

“Mm. If you perform well with the convention, you can open the doors to a potential partnership with the royal family. If you manage to procure a contract with the Sacred Alliance, they will support you with a lot of precious materials. When you become an official royal runemaster, you will be granted unrestricted access to the royal warehouse.

“Besides, you can look at it from another angle. Regardless of where you were, being noticed by the royal family would automatically make you an enemy of Lunor. Since you’re going to be offending him anyway, why not rub salt in the wound?” 

Having heard her words, Richard followed up with another question, “Am I right in saying you didn’t plan this?”

Noelene smiled, “Clever kid. The Church of the Eternal Dragon always takes a neutral stand… Hmm, of course, that’s outside of special circumstances; there are always exceptions. I’m only doing somebody a favour with this arrangement.”

“Who?” Richard asked.

“I can’t tell you, but you’ll know soon enough. The only information you need is that this won’t do you any harm. The person in question harbours no ill will towards you.”

Richard did not continue pursuing the matter, merely nodding and sending the esteemed priestess away.

……

The Temple of Glory.

An hour before the conventions were to start, many people were already inside the halls. They were grouped around in several cliques, pleasantries and discussions aplenty. Everyone was guessing at the relationship between Richard and Lunor.

The designs of the two halls were completely different. Lunor’s convention was obviously more lavish, with a high stage that looked impressive. On the contrary, Richard’s set-up looked simple. Unlike Lunor, he hadn’t prepared snacks and wine for his guests.

Both conventions would officially start at ten in the morning.

The bulk of the crowd was naturally at Lunor’s convention. An established runemaster’s wares were always more attractive than those of someone who had just advanced. As much as Richard was a future saint runemaster, that meant nothing in the now.

If a power sent a delegation, the primary decision maker was at Lunor’s hall while an assistant or follower was sent over to see the events in Richard’s convention.

When Lunor walked up his high stage to overlook the many people below, he didn’t feel particularly happy. Richard’s arrival had severely dampened his spirits. He cleared his voice and started speaking, “Ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased to have you all here today to witness the unveiling of my new rune. As everyone knows, runes are the crown jewel of magic. If you wish to delve deeper into the world of runes, you need to spend many arduous and isolated years exploring it. There are no genius runemasters…”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA