Book 3, Chapter 105

Bankrupted

“Sir Asiris sent word that the war in the plane has reached its most critical point, and things aren’t going smoothly. He actually hopes the family can send a batch of enchanted crossbow bolts; the defense has used up most of their reserves.”

Richard’s expression changed a little, but he only nodded his head for the moment, “What about Lina?”

The old steward hesitated for a moment, “The Dragon Mage has fallen into an impasse at the Forest plane. She can only hold on for now, and is hoping for some support if you have the strength. However, she told me not to pass on this message if you didn’t seem to have enough money.”

Richard fell into deep thought, fingers continuously rapping the surface of the table. He hadn’t expected Gaton to leave him with no resources and a huge mess to solve. There wasn’t any good news coming from the family planes. They owned two-fifths of the Resting Orchid plane, but it would be difficult for Senma to hold onto it alone. Moreover, that was a plane less than a hundredth the size of Faelor, only a rather large island. Even fully developed the plane wouldn’t be able to generate much revenue, while all the other planes were all in need of support. The Gamma plane, originally the richest of the lost, was currently in the hands of Ward.

He wasn’t sure whether Asiris truly needed any help. On the other hand, he absolutely believed that Lina wasn’t having a good time. Having gone to the Forest plane once himself, the humidity of the strange forests and the violent natives had left a deep impression on him.

Every side was in jeopardy, every plane needed money. However, the resources in his hand were extremely limited. Just one mistake would cause a chain reaction that destroyed everything.

This wasn’t surprising if one thought about it. Gaton had basically built himself up from scratch, unleashing a storm in an extremely short period of time. The family’s foundation was currently incredibly shallow, only supported by constant expansion. It was like a castle built on a beach; no matter how quickly a magnificent fortress was built, a single mistake would leave every brick falling down. The current Archeron Family, just like any other parvenu, lacked foundation.

There were many aspects to such a foundation. Skilled generals, talented powerhouses, a formidable army, precious resources… Richard’s followers had only just started to grow, while Gaton’s five knights were only able to maintain the situation in the planes. Any fewer and their defences would fall apart. On the other hand, the knights-in-training had been thinned down to a third after the rebellion. Richard realised he was basically the only source of money in the family now, but his money was needed to fight wars. Just arming 500 elites on Faelor used up over two million gold; as a runemaster himself, there wasn’t a single rune knight under him outside of his followers. Of course 500 elites would be more important than three rune knights for now, but in the long term he needed men to hold off the plane’s powerhouses.

Although an individual rune knight could not compare to a saint, they could be mass-produced to an extent. In situations where the level difference wasn’t too large, quantity was an absolute advantage. For example, three or four rune knights that were equivalent to level 14 would be able to fend off a level 16 warrior without much trouble.

No matter how much he thought about it, Richard couldn’t come up with a good response. Not having money was not having money; he couldn’t pull gold out of thin air. In fact, he still owed Nyris two sets of equipment; the 1.5 million gold’s worth of shields and armour were meant to be materials paid to him in advance.

He waved his hand at the old steward, “Alright, I understand. Go tell the infantry knights to make preparations, they will be leaving first thing in the morning.”

Only after the old steward left did Richard take out a magic sealing box, pushing it over towards Fuschia, “This is for Alice.”

“A gift for my Lady?” Fuschia smiled like a flower as she took the box, “Let me guess what it is. It couldn’t be a rune, could it?”

Her breath caught when she saw the five runes placed inside the box. Her expression grew solemn as she took a serious look at all the runes, “Savage Strike… Very well, you only owe my Lady seven more sets. I must send this over to her immediately, do you have any more instructions?”

“If you have the time, help me pick out ten more people from the island for when I return. Also, has Alice met with any problems recently? You seem very anxious, she can’t be missing just one rune knight.”

“Yes. A fine vein of iron was found not far from my Lady’s lands, in a barren mountain with no owner. All the nobles in the area are claiming sovereignty over the region, including four earls of the Sacred Tree Empire and a Marquess of the Alliance. Of course, my Lady is staking her own claim as well.”

“Indeed, that is troublesome,” Richard furrowed his brows slightly. The only solution to such a situation was war. Even if nobody was fighting over the mine now, there would certainly be problems in the future.

Richard finally remembered Agamemnon’s list after sending Fuschia away, opening the scroll to carefully read through it. On it were hundreds of items of all sizes, with the quantities not being small either; it seemed like the taciturn youth had some status in his family. However, the prices left Richard quite surprised; they were less than a tenth lower than market price, not much different from the costs of normal merchants. Nyris’ prices were much lower. The two often appeared together, almost inseparable; it was impossible for Agamemnon to be unaware of Nyris’ price. Why then were these prices so much higher?

…… 

At the same time, Nyris was standing next to Emperor Philip’s worktable, summoning up the courage to hand over a piece of magic paper. The Emperor strained to move his stout body, taking the paper to have a look; it was an application for a temporary allowance, but it used up almost all of Nyris’ additional authority for the year.

Philip placed the paper back on the table, saying monotonously, “You should know applying for such a large amount will impact you greatly. Your budget next year will be no higher than now, and you won’t have the right to apply for a loan throughout that period.”

“I know, but I already promised Richard!” the Prince said helplessly.

“Didn’t expect him to want so much at once?” Philip smiled meaningfully, signing his name on the application, “It seems like the kid is developing faster than I expected. Alright, take this to the warehouse and transfer the items. One must keep their promises, just treat this time as a lesson. Next time, measure your own ability before making promises.”

“Understood,” Nyris said gloomily.

……

Nyris’ expression was very unpleasant as he walked out of the royal warehouse, his head bowed down the entirety of the way in thought. He hastened towards the transmission circle, wanting to look for Agamemnon to get a drink with.

Just at that moment, a tall, strong figure suddenly blocked his way. This was a youth dressed in battle armour, undecorated save for the royal family’s crest hidden away in one corner. He looked similar to Nyris, but while the Fourth Prince seemed soft and delicate this fellow had a dark and gloomy aura.

“Fourth brother! I heard you went bankrupt? I came as soon as I could to confirm myself!” the youth said with a clear tone of ridicule.

Nyris’ expression only sank further at the sight, “It’s none of your business!”

The youth laughed heartily a few times, “Why isn’t it my business? You’ve had some momentum recently; outside of that weirdo Second, everyone else is very nervous. But your budget won’t be increased for the next year, and you can’t take any loans either. How do you plan on getting more points? I’m quite willing to throw you a little further.”

“Fuck off!” Nyris spit out viciously, his face frosted over.

Someone as elegant as Nyris suddenly swearing stunned even the Third Prince for a moment. His face swelled up in a flash, reddening from shame and anger, “NYRIS! You’re humiliating the royal family?”

“Is that me or you? Get out of my way, I don’t have time to waste on you!” Nyris smiled coldly. 

The Third Prince’s followers had been ready to give way the moment Nyris was enraged, but the youth himself huffed loudly. Their feet seemed to stick to the ground, and they didn’t dare to move. Sandwiched between the two princes, these followers were clearly put in an awkward situation. Cold sweat rolled down their faces, but there were a few who remained exceptionally aggressive and brazen to express their loyalty.

Nyris suddenly calmed down, a slight smile forming on his face, “Very well. If you’re a real man, then just keep wasting my time here. I’m in no hurry anyway.”

The Third Prince’s expression suddenly changed. This was the path to the royal warehouse; although it was usually quiet, there could be people coming over at any time. An open confrontation between two princes would spell trouble; once Philip caught wind of it, no good would come out of it. Flattery was worth nothing in front of the Emperor, and Philip would be able to find out who was right and who was wrong in just a few questions. None of his own followers dared to lie in the Emperor’s presence.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Pei

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA