Once the ceremony came to an end, Richard reaped his own reward: the three crystal plates. Flowsand told him these three crystals had great power; every one he broke could solve any difficult problem he was facing.
Any problem you’re facing can be solved easily… Flowsand’s explanation had made it seem like these plates were equivalent to additional lives. “You silly girl!” he had exclaimed in disbelief as he took them, “When did you learn to talk so big?”
He naturally sensed the prophetic powers within the plates when he took them from her hands. The issue was with prophecy magic itself.
Prophecies were a branch of magic that left people both curious and helpless. The curious bit was the fact that enough mana would give a mage basically limitless prophetic abilities, but of course what exactly was “enough” was something that could drive anyone crazy.
In theory, a legendary mage could use prophecy magic to interfere in another’s life. For example, they could cause an ordinary human to trip and hurt themselves badly. However, that was it. There was a series of harsh conditions if one wanted to kill with this magic, and the problem was only amplified as the other party grew stronger. If the deviation from one’s prophecy was large enough, they could even tip the compass of fate in the other direction. It didn’t compare in any way to just throwing a fireball to kill a group of people.
These plates were supposed to be able to solve any problem? They were additional lives? Even the legendary destiny crystal used in the protective sphere did not have such great power. These crude plates were definitely unlikely to be able to accomplish such a thing.
Flowsand grew fierce upon seeing his expression, “You don’t believe me?”
“Of course I do,” Richard grinned. His smile was now filled with limitless vitality.
“If you don’t believe me, I don’t mind if you test it out,” she said between clenched teeth. In actual fact, she was in the same camp as him. However, she couldn’t tell Richard that outright, at best throwing a few hints his way.
Richard placed the crystal plates in his pocket and squeezed Flowsand’s little face so hard she started to grimace, saying with a smile, “Use the grace wisely, it came in exchange for the thing Master gave me. Be careful, Master is very petty, she’ll come looking for interest.”
Flowsand merely let out a snort.
Richard looked at the time, “Get ready, we’ll be heading out in two days. For now, I have to go back.”
Once Richard was sent off, the offering hall grew empty and desolate. Flowsand sighed and sat down on a rock beside the altar, placing her right hand before her eye. 31 small hourglasses formed in the palm of her hand, each hourglass representing an additional year of life. This was the divine grace Flowsand currently possessed. The ability to stockpile it was a special privilege granted only to title holders.
Looking at them all, Flowsand sighed and thought to herself, ‘Richard is so foolish. Could it be that he really couldn’t tell what this grace could be exchanged for? Hmph, that cannot be the case! But…’
Behind the gruffness lay a soft, delicate mind.
“I guess it’s time to return some debts.” Flowsand raised her hand lazily, the hourglasses in her palm slowly disappeared one after the other until only half were left. The rest of the grace would be used to upgrade her powers.
The more sacrifices one offered, the stronger one grew. The stronger one grew, the more sacrifices they could offer. Such were the rules of the Eternal Dragon. There was only one constant in the path to success— sacrifice.
Flowsand thought over it for a long time before finally waving her hand, sending all the remaining divine grace out. A handsome youth suddenly appeared out of thin air, bending down on one knee and saying with a melodious voice, “Esteemed Priestess, thank you for granting me the chance to awake. I shall repay your grace for the rest of my life! Please, decide my path.”
Flowsand thought over it long and hard. This was a very difficult question to answer, a question of choosing between battle and divinity. She could choose to push the heavenly guardian towards attack or defence, although a balance would be optimal. He could be granted magical powers, something that only served to complicate the matter. When all the choices were put before her, they led to numerous branches that were all different. Every guardian in the Church’s history had been a different existence.
In the end, she decided that she would push him towards one end. Be it battle power or priesthood, a gifted commander like Richard could make use of an extreme much better than a jack of all trades.
Flowsand felt something softly tugging at her heartstrings, “You will take the path of a battle priest.”
The river of time in the void shot out threads of timeforce that entered the heavenly guardian’s body. The raw strength in his aura dropped a little, exchanged for a tint of holiness. He stood up, “Esteemed Priestess, the river of time has bestowed a name upon me. I am Io.”
Flowsand still had some divine grace on hand, so she formed a Waterdrop Necklace and wore it. “Follow me, I’ll get you the equipment for a battle priest,” she said to Io. Priests always came first in planar war.
Island 7-2 had grown a lot livelier in recent times as envoys of different families came and left. The griffin stands were already at capacity, every platform cramped with two.
When Richard returned to the castle, he saw two carpenters from the royal household busy at work carving scabbards for his sword and dagger. The elven sword Gaton had given him had no enchantments and the blade was too long, but since this was the only present that man had ever given him Richard decided to carry it along. Of course, he told himself that it was because this sword was the best weapon when using the secret swords of Silvermoon, and when it came to war comfort wasn’t important.
That reason was a little inane. Comfort may not be important in battle, but handiness was.
Seeing Richard’s return, the old steward who was discussing something with a few people suddenly hurried over, “Young Master, these people were sent by the royal family. They have brought over the materials you need, you can check them now.”
“Materials?” Richard was overjoyed, immediately making his way to the table nearby and inspecting everything.
Upon the table was a large magic box the size of a luggage bag, neatly separated into more than a hundred small compartments. Each compartment held its own unique properties for the materials it could store. More than half the compartments were currently filled with materials, ten of which were very rare resources that couldn’t easily be bought with gold. The only way to grow this collection would be to spend time collecting.
The items in the luggage bag alone were worth more than a million gold coins. With these materials on hand, it would be no issue for Richard to craft standard grade 3 runes. That was the most valuable thing.
A mage nearby spoke up, “Lord Richard, these materials are part of your payment for the runes you shall be crafting this year. The rest is being paid in gold alongside your annual salary, for a total of 1,500,000. Please check through this and acknowledge.”
Needless to say, the mage didn’t actually hand over 1.5 million gold coins; even a Deepblue mage would be crushed under that weight. It was instead a palm-sized box with fifteen magic crystals neatly lined up within, each worth about 100,000 gold. This was the true currency of the upper class.
Richard signed for the materials and crystals, sending the envoys of the royal family away. He thought about it for a while before passing five of the crystals to the old steward, “This is for the island’s operational expenses this year. Any excess you can use to increase the salary of the soldiers loyal to the family. Also, find some youths with potential and train them; the internal riots killed off many of our young warriors.”
When he walked into Gaton’s study, Fuschia was already waiting for him. She passed Richard a list of the people she had picked out to follow him to Faelor, everyone at least level 10, loyal, and with the potential to advance in the future. Ten people were selected in the list alongside twenty reserves, a mix of footsoldiers and Archeron warriors. Richard was surprised that there were only two free Archerons on the list.
“The Archeron warriors are unwilling to go to Faelor?” Richard asked.
Fuschia shrugged, “They prefer a carefree life. Now that the crisis on the island has been resolved, they want to explore and fight elsewhere. Besides, even though some of these people have the level, they don’t have potential. There is limited space on the expedition, it would be a waste to bring them along.”
She was right. Even with two upgrades, it still cost 20,000 gold to transport one warrior through the portal. Such a fee could instead be used to hire a team of soldiers in Faelor… Richard started muttering to himself; this was a problem which every commander in a planar war faced.
“Oh yes, there is another issue!” Fuschia said in an exaggerated tone, “Dear Young Master Richard, did you not say you want to become allies with my Lady, going so far as to become partners with her? You are about to enter an alien plane, no one knows when you’ll be back. As a sign of your sincerity, should you not place a deposit? For example, the two rune sets you displayed in the convention. We can get the knights and mounts ourselves.”
Richard grew annoyed.
His relationship with Alice was a difficult problem that had to be handled carefully. She was rising to power far too quickly, only suppressed so far by Gaton’s existence. Even so, she had still managed to shine in Gaton’s shadow. She was far more important than Goliath or even Sauron. With her talents, she would soon become someone who could change the tides of battle. There were only two reasons she was still an Earl: her tender age, and the Archeron emphasis on individual glory. Stronger Archerons would isolate themselves from the rest of the family.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA