Book 3, Chapter 41

Glory(3)

The two side halls were separated by a large corridor. If everything was a little quiet, Richard could even hear Lunor’s voice. The runemaster was also a grand mage, using magic to amplify his voice. However, even as he began his attack on the ‘so-called genius’, Richard had already finished his brief opening speech and began to display the first rune: Elementary Strength.

Magnified holographic images of the rune popped up on both sides of the hall when it was unveiled. The images were rotating slowly, allowing those at the back to see them clearly as well.

Everyone below started discussing the rune immediately. This rune was just too ordinary, too common. Many grand mages who weren’t even official runemasters could craft an elementary strength rune. Although the design of the rune in Richard’s hand was slightly different from the standard, the effect was still the same. An elementary strength rune wouldn’t be rare regardless of how fancy it was.

“Isn’t this Elementary Strength? Is something wrong with my eyes?”

“No, you’re not mistaken. This really is Elementary Strength.”

“You have the cheek to show an elementary strength rune on such an occasion?!”

Despite the exclamations from the crowd, someone studied the rune for a bit and said profoundly, “The rune likely has an outstanding unique factor. I think it can be used as a hybrid rune, or it was supplemented with an attack augmenting attribute. Look, there’s a brand new array in the bottom right.”

Everyone was thus enlightened. A hybrid rune or one with an extra attribute truly would put this rune on par with most grade 2 runes, perhaps it could be even more precious. It would be logical for Richard to release it here. But just as everyone was sighing, Richard began to introduce the abilities of the rune, “As you can see, this is Elementary Strength. It can increase the user’s strength by 39%...”

People grew more and more astonished as Richard continued his introduction. However, it still wasn’t because the rune was somehow magical. No, it was the exact opposite— this thing was just too ordinary!

The 39% amplification could be regarded as outstanding, nearly approaching a grade 2 strength rune while retaining a lower requirement, but this still wasn’t a hybrid rune.

However, that was all. Many people couldn’t believe that the introduction was complete when Richard put the rune down.

Richard attracted gazes once more with his second rune, but once again everyone was surprised to see an equally ordinary item in Elementary Defence! Of course, this one wasn’t exactly the same as the standard rune, with a few more patterns that weren’t a part of the regular design. Nobody understood exactly what this little formation was for, only able to make out that it was similar to the one in the strength rune.

Was this Richard’s personal style? This was the first thought that came to those with nimble minds. It was no secret that Gaton’s son had elven blood in him. It was in the elves’ nature to pursue perfection, and they were excessively fond of delicate and complicated art. Perhaps the formations were only a sort of decoration, a display of sorts just like an autograph on a famous painting.

But Richard’s runes were not famous paintings; in fact, they were far from any such thing.

Around the same time, Lunor finally completed his lengthy speech in the western hall and motioned for Foster to begin. The royal runemaster wasn’t famous for his speeches, his words normally quite concise, but he had spoken passionately for a long time today. On the one hand, this expressed his pride in his breakthroughs, but on the other it might have been stimulated by Richard’s appearance. He ended up talking about the difference between geniuses and liars for an extended length of time.

Although the audience hadn’t grown impatient yet, they were signalling to each other with indistinct smiles.

Foster’s followers told him about the two runes that Richard had just displayed, and the moment he ascended the stage someone immediately inquired about his opinion on them. He flashed what he thought to be the most charming of smiles, bright voice resonating throughout the hall under the influence of magic, “Although the rune structures are quite different from the standard version, attribute runes only depend on the extent of amplification and demand on capacity. No matter how the structure is changed, it is useless if these two indicators aren’t improved. They’re just a sensationalised gimmick.

“Talent isn’t enough in the world of runes. One needs to be down to earth, climbing step by step to reach a higher level. Master Lunor already mentioned that there are no so-called geniuses in the craft. Too many have stopped at level 2, never making any more progress.”

Having said all that, he took out his first rune. It was exquisitely made, the corners decorated with many gorgeous gems. The royal family crest was on the back of the slotting mechanism, with his full name signed on a corner of the rune. At the same time, a huge image appeared on the stage. The rune was magnified a few hundred times over so it could be viewed easily by everyone in the hall.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen. This is the first of two runes I will be releasing today, grade 2 Strength. Firstly, its amplification is as high as 43%! Based on this alone, the difference between grade 2 runes and elementary runes is obvious. No matter how exquisitely a grade 1 rune is made, it is impossible for it to surpass a grade 2 rune. Even a 1% difference is a huge disparity…”

The crowd below mostly agreed with Foster’s remarks. The amplification was the primary indicator of a rune’s quality. A grade 2 rune could theoretically reach 50% amplification, but that would also greatly increase the capacity cost a few times over. Not many people in Norland could use an elementary rune to imitate a grade 2 rune like Richard could.

However, Richard himself wasn’t affected by this, his convention continuing as planned. The elementary defence rune he had just displayed was more remarkable than a standard one, but it still couldn’t compare to his previous works.

Several well-versed grand mages from amongst the audience frowned, beginning to ponder hard. Their sharp gazes had already allowed them to notice the impeccable precision of Richard’s two runes. The amplification should rightfully have been much higher, but… Could it be that the seemingly useless formations had some purpose?

When Richard took out his third rune, Vitality, the spirits of the audience were finally lifted a little.

Although one could tell that Vitality was a grade 1 rune from the structure and complexity, it was still a custom rune. The audience nodded in approval at Richard’s introduction; although the rune didn’t seem very powerful at first glance, those with true knowledge knew what it meant in the battlefield. Real wars often lasted a long time, and there were instances where one was left without reinforcements in a cruel environment. The advantages of a Vitality rune in such situations would begin to grow more obvious as time passed.

Given its practicality and the fact that Vitality was a custom rune that was rarely seen, one could barely grant Richard the title of a true runemaster. Not just any runemaster could design a custom rune with unique characteristics. Take Foster’s second rune for example, Agility. Although it was technically a custom design because the structure of the formation had been deliberately changed, it was still no different from a standard Agility rune. The structural alterations were purely for the sake of change, not serving any other purpose.

In fact, Foster’s attack on Richard in the beginning was entirely applicable to himself. The only reason nobody spoke out about it was Lunor’s presence.

When Foster took out his second rune in the western hall, the image of the grade 2 Agility rune replaced the grade 2 Strength. However, when Richard was introducing Vitality in the east, the images of the first two still remained. When he took out his fourth rune, Vitality was still floating in the air.

A fourth rune! Richard was actually unveiling a fourth rune! This made a lot of people gain a renewed interest in Richard; those who were initially a little disappointed also felt their spirits lifted.

A runemaster normally released around two or three runes in an ordinary convention. The more runes one released, the more they had mastered. This was an important criterion by which one would judge the runemaster’s ability. Apart from the level of the rune, there were also differences between standard runes and custom designs.

In the western hall, Foster frowned as he looked at a piece of paper in his hand. His expression dimmed involuntarily— the release of four runes in a row indicated that Richard had likely mastered far more runes than him. His face started to heat up, the gazes from the audience below seemingly more glaring.

‘Damn it! This Richard might just be a threat… Why didn’t you just die wherever you got lost?!’ Foster cursed in his heart.

Richard was calm and focused as he introduced the fourth rune, Guardian of Life. The eastern hall grew quiet as he went on, with many people unable to help but hold their breath.

Guardian of Life had two abilities. First was an increase in the defence of the user, using their excess vitality as well as any lingering energy in the battlefield to power itself. The excess energy was also stored up, greatly reducing the requirement on carrying capacity on the rune knight. The second ability was to channel all the stored energy back to the user at will, turning into physical strength, vitality, or whatever other form of energy they needed. In combat, this rune had a combined effect of healing, increased strength, and boosted recovery.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Mel

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA