Richard didn’t like people being so arrogant in his lands. Instead of entering right away, he waited for a while for Rolf and Viscount Zim to join him. No matter who these mages were, before a saint and a viscount whose family possessed incredible power they would have to show a modicum of restraint.
When he entered the top floor of the inn and sized up the environment, his expression turned completely gloomy. He started stroking his short beard, a new habit that allowed him to suppress the rage in his heart.
The suite had already been refurbished, with seven chairs placed in the centre of which five already had mages seated in them; only the large chair in the middle and the one on the far right were still empty. All the mages present were rather old, ranging from level 10 to 12, but they wore impossibly luxurious robes decorated with gorgeous magic circles.
Richard himself was a master of magic circles. Although he wasn’t confident enough to say he was the best in all of Faelor, no ordinary mage could compare with him. He could tell with a single look that these magic circles were so useless he had to think hard to figure out their purpose. In the end, he came up with two uses that weren’t really uses at all: one was to enhance the aura to make their identities obvious, while the other was just aesthetics.
Several warriors were stood against the wall, their golden armour similarly complex, exquisite, and luxurious. They were likely the mages’ guards.
What left Richard speechless was the fact that there were only the seven chairs in the entire hall. Forget the people he had brought with him, there wasn’t even a seat for himself. This was his territory they were talking about!
Seeing the group of three enter, a thin old mage on the left end opened his eyes slightly. He couldn’t help but shiver when his gaze swept over Rolf, finally growing a little straighter, but that was all. He looked at Richard once more, envy and resentment flashing in his eyes at Richard’s youth and power. The old coot seemed to be fifty or sixty already, but he was only level 10. Richard’s level clearly provoked him.
He stared at Richard from the corner of his eyes, asking in a purposefully cold manner, “You’re Richard?”
“Yes, and this is my territory,” Richard answered indifferently. He was in no rush to raise difficult questions, instead wanting to see what these sudden entrants wanted to do. Of course, he wouldn’t mind killing them in one stroke either. The five coots were sat so close to each other one fireball could wipe them out.
The mage nodded his head, saying arrogantly, “Master Kamy wants to meet you. Stand and wait.”
This time, the expressions of Rolf and Zim changed as well. The former was still okay, his expression only darkened a little; the saint wasn’t someone so transparent. On the other hand, Zim’s plump face started to distort. The Viscount was someone who could do as he pleased in the Sequoia Kingdom, a tyrant who could snatch from all he saw. Even Richard had experienced his arrogance. In the entirety of the Kingdom, nobody outside of shrews like Countess Katrina could control him. Of course, Richard inspired a terror in Zim’s heart that was second only to Katrina herself.
Still, enraged as he was, the Viscount only had the guts to reprimand these mages. Even the King had to be considerate of a behemoth like the Mage Association; Zim was sure these fellows wouldn’t do anything to him, but making a move against the Association was impossible.
Just as a string of rude words made its way to Zim’s lips, Richard suddenly raised a hand to stop him. “Alright, I’ll just wait for a while.”
After that, Richard truly did just stand in the centre of the hall and wait patiently. However, this only left the five mages growing more and more uneasy. The temperature in the hall seemed to be dropping gradually, forcing two mages who weren’t good with the cold to fight back a few shudders.
Standing next to a window in the study room was an old mage in golden robes. His hair was almost all gone, leaving a thinly-spread circle of white on a shiny head. The man’s face was full of excess fat, the marks of time all over it. Next to the old mage was a middle-aged man wearing the same silver-patterned robes as the mages outside. The two mages were entranced by the formation of humanoid warriors not far away.
The middle-aged man suddenly raised a finger with excitement, “Master Kamy, look at those soldiers! Every one of them has a magic sword of superior quality in their hands! This equipment… even I could only produce one per month at most. But here… At least eighty warriors, meaning eighty superior-quality longswords! Wait, they have shields on their backs too! Heavens, those shields are magic equipment as well!”
A tinge of colour flashed across the muddy eyes of the old mage. His pupils reflected the magical glow, a trace of unconcealable greed on his face.
The middle-aged mage suddenly turned serious, “Taxes! We must collect taxes! All magic equipment must go through the mage association before sale. The Mage Association is the final destination of all mages!
Kamy slowly nodded his head, “That’s a good statement, the Mage Association is the final destination of all mages. We should build a bridge for mages to communicate with the world, and they need only progress on the path of magic. This equipment is too dangerous for an ordinary mage, it should be controlled by the Association. Let us wise men decide their use and destination.”
“Your decision truly is brilliant!” the middle-aged man praised greatly, rubbing his hands in excitement, “So much magic equipment. If we had it all, our annual income would rise by 30%! But that Richard…”
“Let’s make him a silver robe!” Kamy said in a deep voice.
The middle-aged mage was stunned, “A silver robe? But that’s a high level, he doesn’t even look twenty! We have all struggled on the path of magic for more than twenty years and contributed ten years of our youth to the Association. Six of the mages who wish to become silver robes are nearing sixty years of age, what would they think if we give the position to Richard?”
“That truly is a problem, but if I remember correctly all six of them only reached level 10 with much difficulty. Richard is already level 12, his level is even higher than yours.”
“Master Kamy, the silver robe is a symbol of status. It should be given out based on contribution to the Association, not just level. If Richard acquires a spot, we will have no choice but to reject one of the experienced older mages. I think we should give him a reserve position at most,” the middle-aged man was oddly persistent about the issue.
Kamy sighed, “I understand what you mean, but don’t forget. For Richard to reach his current heights at such a young age, he has to have an extremely high-levelled mage behind him! Just that alone makes him deserving of a silver robe.”
“But…” The middle-aged mage still wanted to insist, but was interrupted by a wave of Kamy’s hand. He begrudgingly nodded his head, but thinking back to the benefits promised to him by a specific silver robe candidate he felt a thorn in his heart.
Kamy looked at the middle-aged mage with a gaze indicating he clearly understood everything, saying without hurry, “Alright, we should go out. Richard has already waited for some time, the youths of today do not have much patience.”
Richard had remained standing for an entire ten minutes before the door leading from the study to the hall opened. Kamy and the middle-aged man walked out, the former calmly seating himself on the central chair and speaking to Richard with a light smile, “You must be Richard. You truly are young.”
The middle-aged man sat on the last empty chair, interrupting Richard before he could even answer, “This is Master Kamy, an elder of the Sequoia Kingdom Mage Association. All mages must accept the oversight of the Association, for an elder to come personally to your territory is a rare honour!”
Richard stroked his beard just as before, ignoring the middle-aged man and turning to Kamy, “Master Kamy, you can’t only be here to visit a ruined city, right?”
Kamy made an indication to the middle-aged mage, and the man responded with no traces of politeness, “Richard, we discovered a large amount of magic equipment entering the Sequoia Kingdom from you. Is this true?”
“Yes, the equipment comes from my master’s workshop.”
The middle-aged mage huffed, his voice turning cold, “The trading rights of superior-grade magic equipment in the Sequoia Kingdom belong solely to the Mage Association. If you want to sell to the lords of the Kingdom, you must first acquire the sale rights and pay tax!”
“Oh? And what is the tax rate?” Richard still didn’t bat an eyelid at the hostility.
“For every ten pieces of magic equipment you sell, you must hand over three… No, four as tax!” The man’s voice grew louder and louder, the greed in his eyes growing difficult to conceal.
Richard’s expression grew cold. Just as he was about to say something, Kamy softly knocked on the armrest of his chair to quiet the middle-aged mage down. The old man was incredibly satisfied with his imposing manner, coughing once before saying amiably, “Richard, the Mage Association is the final destination of all mages. We collect tax to provide financial support to those under us and allow the light of magic to shine upon all of Faelor. As mages, we have no need to personally participate in such a greedy thing as an exchange of money. You also have a second option; sell all your equipment directly to the Association. I personally recommend this.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Pei
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA