Darling of Destiny
There would certainly be priests in the army for the Bloodstained Highway project, so Flowsand was prepared to disguise herself as the priest of an ancient god that had recently been revived. She was very good at analysing and using divine power; she knew her timeforce conflicted with the divine power of Runai, so she might conflict with her worshippers.
The most likely church to appear in the alliance would be the Church of Ceres. Although the Eternal Dragon held power over space as well, that was a formidable attribute that could only be displayed at a very high level. Kellac was a veteran while Io was proficient at using his divine power; they wouldn’t expose any flaws that would alert the worshippers of Ceres.
With many of the clerics like Kars and Marvin having documented pasts, while Caesar wasn’t even fallen, there was sufficient leeway for Flowsand to claim that they were all servants of a revived god.
Zim continued to prove himself a big variable, demonstrating the extravagant spirit and wealth of a powerful family. He ultimately contributed a third of the army. Even all the vassals of the Direwolf Duke combined had only made for less than a quarter, mostly coming from young nobles who wanted to go on an adventure and make a fortune. Bevry had spent much of his time since stealing the dragon bones resisting the vengeance of the Whiterock Dukedom and was short on troops. Just that quarter was hard to put together.
Richard decided to talk to Zim properly once. This should have been done when the Viscount arrived at Bluewater by himself, but it had been held up due to various reasons.
Zim arrived punctually at Richard’s accommodations when night fell. Richard was seated on the balcony, preparing refreshments. The blood-red moon was at its largest, bigger even to the eye than the sun. One could even see the ridges of mountains clearly. Legends said behind the moon were the divine kingdoms of all the gods.
Sitting before Richard, Zim seemed a little uptight and nervous. With most healing power spent on internal injuries, Richard’s face was still full of bruises. However, only those without any knowledge of the situation would laugh at this shabby appearance; having witnessed the battle with Io personally, Zim felt fear from the bottom of his heart at the sight of these scars. The experience of being beaten twice had left great trauma behind as well, all that pain and fear now surging from the depths of his mind.
Richard poured a cup of tea and pushed it towards the Viscount, “There isn’t anything great here. This is the best tea I can offer.”
Zim was both overwhelmed and flattered, toasting Richard and gulping down the drink in one go. He then stuck out his tongue due to the heat, his fair face turning red.
“You only made a trip here for the Bloodstained Highway project?” Richard asked him.
Zim hesitated for a moment, but under Richard’s stern gaze he started sweating and finally caved in, “This is the last batch of troops my father and Duke Grasberg are willing to give me; I will have to rely on my own income for any future armies. Your plan has the potential to earn a lot of gold if it succeeds, allowing me to expand my power. The plan might seem crazy, but with you at the helm, I believe the chances of failure are low.”
"If that was the case, you should have come to me after I beat you the second time,” Richard clearly expressed his doubts. He stared into the Viscount’s eyes, not missing the slightest reaction. He was wondering whether Zim knew something or was just the shield for another’s ploy once more.
The Viscount constantly wiped off the cold sweat emerging on his forehead, remembering events that he clearly wished to forget, “No! Your ability wasn’t convincing enough at that time, how could I bet on you? But then you killed Odom and all his elite knights… That makes you worthy of investing into.”
"What else?" Zim began sweating once more, eventually giving up all resistance, “There are two other reasons. One is that my family has lost far too much at your hands. The benefits of a fight with you aren’t worth it in the eyes of the family council. If you annihilate our private army once more, our very roots will be shaken. Fortunately Duke Bevry was greatly injured in the war with the Whiterock Dukedom, or the situation would not be good. I didn’t expect you to send me an invitation as well. I know it was just a joke, but the chance was worth taking. I came because I know someone like you will not easily go back on his words.”
Richard felt a little helpless in the face of Zim’s thick skin. But from another perspective, this proved that the Highland Unicorn wasn’t completely useless.
“You said there is a second reason.”
“Father and the Duke wish to obtain some runes and high-end magic equipment. Of course, we’ll definitely pay well for them!”
“You should be very clear what runes and magic equipment are worth,” Richard said with a laugh, “Why would I arm an enemy? Just buy everything on the market.”
High-end magic equipment was just like runes; they needed to be used on a large scale to truly show their prowess. Richard thus always distributed everything he sold to a variety of influences. As long as they didn’t all gather together, they wouldn’t pose a threat to himself. At the same time, this was also a method to consume the wealth of Faelor’s nobles. By the time someone resolute managed to collect enough equipment from others, he would have left them behind.
“We aren’t enemies any longer, no?” Zim asked with hope, “I brought out all of my men as well as every soldier I could borrow for the Bloodstained Highway project. Once we fight alongside each other, we can be considered comrades. What’s more, our dispute was insignificant to begin with.”
“Insignificant?” Richard broke into laughter. The deaths of several great mages and priests as well as an elite troop of a thousand men as well as a saint… this was insignificant? But looking at Zim’s genuine expression and sincere tone, Richard finally understood that the Highland Unicorn likely only considered the two battles he had personally participated in to be part of their dispute.
But Richard immediately detected something amiss. Zim wasn’t as foolish as he made it seem, and his expression indicated that there was something else afoot. If not for that, the Viscount wouldn’t look so apprehensive.
“Speak, what’s the other matter?” Richard asked calmly.
"What?!” Zim was shocked, “That… There’s still a small issue that can be considered personal, but… how do I phrase it… Father and the Duke also accepted this tacitly. Some time ago, there was another woman by my side. Countess Katrina, His Majesty’s niece. Her husband passed away very early on, and she’s only 26 years of age. She came to me for a child who could awaken the unicorn bloodline…”
Richard flashed a meaningful smile, “Isn’t that a good thing?”
Zim went pale, “I’ve been with her for four months, but I don’t see any possibilities of having children. Except for a few days, in these past four months… I’ve had sex almost two or three times a day! It’s driving me crazy! She’s a woman with lots of needs, and she’s driven everyone else away. I really can’t stand it anymore, so I escaped to the Bloodstained Lands. She has many lovers; as long as I don’t return, I don’t think she’ll last a month without looking for someone else.”
Richard looked at the Viscount with eyes full of sympathy, “That really can’t be easy. But… You want to use me as a shield?”
“You’re not afraid of that woman or any of her lovers!” Zim shouted.
“That doesn’t mean I’m fine with being used,” Richard said casually as he sipped his tea.
“I’ve contributed the largest number of troops to your plan, and I’m taking care of logistics as well!”
“That’s enough for this,” Richard said with a nod, “But don’t you think about getting any weapons and runes from me.”
“NO! If I can’t get them, the family will call me back and use me for that woman! How much do you want? I’ll pay twice the market price!"
Zim was a pale, fat slob, but he actually didn’t look too bad. In fact, he was only a short distance away from being handsome. For him to be left with psychological trauma by sex… Whoever the woman was, her tastes were not ordinary. Of course, there was still the possibility that the attraction of the unicorn bloodline was just too strong.
Richard suddenly remembered that one of the bloodline options during his sacrifice in Norland had been the holy unicorn. The list had made the creature seem comparable to majestic dragons and young astral beasts.
“Tell me, what’s unique about your bloodline?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Mel
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA