Book 3, Chapter 136

Longing

“I can get her out!” the mysterious woman emphasised once more.

Raymond looked at her, speaking slowly, “They have Fuschia there right now, alongside the paladins of the Church. You won’t be able to get in and out without leaving any traces; once the issue blows up, His Majesty will definitely find out. You saw how severely injured Kane Mensa was today; you want to snatch Rosie away the same night? Isn’t that a slap in the Emperor’s face? Did you even think of the consequences?”

“What consequences could there be?” the woman said lightly, “He is my father.”

“A father who killed two of your brothers for slighting him!” Raymond howled lowly, “And their offences were certainly not as grave as what you’re planning!”

The mysterious woman fell silent, knowing that his words were true. Bloodthirsty Philip was not easy to anger, but once his temper flared blood was bound to be spilt. Raymond’s voice softened, “Remember this. I won’t let you sacrifice yourself to save another, no matter who she is.”

The mysterious woman opened her mouth, but she did not make any sound. However, the slight tremor of her body showed just how moved she was.

Night slowly fell, the rainbow of the moons beginning to shine. In the dazzling intertwining moonlight, Raymond’s gaze was as deep as the ocean. “We don’t have much time,” he said in a firm yet gentle voice, “The Josephs cannot break their alliance with the Mensas because of me. It doesn’t matter to me whether Rosie falls into Richard’s hands, is married off to Duke Dario, or returns to the Mensa Family; none of those is a good end. But to her, there’s a vast difference. There’s a glimmer of hope by Richard’s side, and only hell everywhere else.

“So yes, I hope she remains with the Archerons. I hope she can stand beside my enemy.”

…… 

Regardless of the workings of mortal hearts, the rainbow of the moons in Faust’s sky always followed the same unchanging orbit. Moons rose and fell, illuminating the sky in their colours for the same duration of time.

On the Archeron island, Richard was standing within the warehouse as he watched the old steward lead a group of people to check box after box of freshly shipped weapons and armour. With over fifty chests, even the ten-odd members of the group took a relatively long time to go through it all.

Having just used Sacrifice, Richard couldn’t interact with his mana pool for the time being. Thus, meditation and runecrafting were out of the question. Planning his next steps hadn’t taken too much time either, so he was left with some spare time where he had absolutely nothing to do. For some reason, all that appeared in his mind was Rosie’s silhouette.

The young lady had surprised him constantly, and now she was an extremely sensitive pawn that affected three large families. The longer she remained on the Archerons’ island, the more the dignity of the Mensas and Schumpeters was raked through the mud.

This girl was like a dormant volcano. She was normally silent, even able to allow lakes and grass to grow nearby, but whenever she did open up it was earth-shattering. It was exactly this trait that differentiated her from most others, an addictive characteristic that justified an entire plane being named after her. Although that was partly a means to increase her value as a pawn, her conduct before him proved that she truly did have value beyond her looks.

An attendant handed him a magic sealing box with a few hundred magic crystals lined up within. Richard nodded his head after a simple check, closing the lid once more. These crystals were meant for their journey; any extras would be taken to Faelor for the gate on that end as well as for the broodmother’s use.

This time, Richard intended to take at least twenty Archerons and novice knights with him, as well as ten level 10 mages. Thankfully the latest ceremony had dropped the cost to 15,000 per person one-side, but the huge expense still made Richard’s heart ache.

But then, the thought of these crystals flooded Richard’s mind with a new idea that he could not suppress. He let the attendants continue making preparations and hurried down to the basement; by the time he got to his destination, he was almost running.

Passing through a few heavily guarded doors, he arrived in the depths of the castle where the magic circle for long-distance communication and transfers was present. It was very simple for him to activate it; he skillfully selected the coordinates of the Deepblue and started to insert magic crystals within. When the 109th crystal was inserted, the circle slowly began to light up. The radiant light pulsed, illuminating and darkening the room in a cycle.

It wasn’t long before the circle was fully lit, and Richard stood before it and waited patiently.

After a moment, a familiar harried voice rang out, “Who interrupted my work? Damn it, if it wasn’t for the fact that this was extremely expensive, I wouldn’t have rushed over myself! Say what you want quickly, friend, you must know that gold never sleeps! Every moment wasted is gold coins melted away!”

These were familiar, distinctive words. Richard could almost see the grey dwarf jumping up and down on the other end of the transmission, shouting at the top of his lungs. Surely enough, it wasn’t long before a hologram of Blackgold appeared, holding his head in his hands and staring at him, “You… You… You’re… Richard?”

Richard stared blankly, not understanding why Blackgold would be shocked to the point of not even recognising him. “Who else could it be?” he asked, puzzled.

“Why did you get a beard like that?” the grey dwarf shouted, almost jumping.

Richard was stunned once more, touching the uneven beard on his face, “Quite a few dwarves complimented my beard recently. What’s so bad about it?”

Blackgold completely exploded, “You could have learnt from anyone, but it had to be from Gaton! That fellow has the same taste as the dwarves, he’s someone with no concept of numbers at all! He’s just a musclehead, just like the dwarves. What they boast of, we must oppose! What they like, we must cast aside!”

“We?”

“Yes! We! We who are of the Deepblue, a group who understand the true elegance of math and art!” the grey dwarf yelled, as though unbelieving of the question.

It was only then that Richard remembered that the duergar, the grey dwarves, were bitter enemies of their more normal kin. Nearly every time the two races met ended in death. Seeing Blackgold showing no sign of stopping his roars, Richard had no choice but to remind him, “Mr. Blackgold, its very expensive to maintain this link!”

“What does that have to do with me? It’s your crystals being burnt anyway!” Blackgold seemed to feel no pain.

On the edge between laughter and tears, Richard responded, “Alright already I need to talk. I heard Master just entered hibernation?”

An unnatural look flashed past the grey dwarf’s face, “Yes, Her Excellency has fallen into a deep slumber. She might not wake for a few years.”

With his astuteness and perception, there was no way for Richard to miss Blackgold’s expression. His heart sank, but he tried to remain calm, “Why?”

“To… restore power. Her Excellency recuperates the fastest when asleep.” The grey dwarf had decided to tell the truth.

“Why does she need to restore power? Did she get hurt?”

“That…” Blackgold hesitated for a long time, but eventually responded with a nod, “Sigh, yes.”

Richard caught a strange look in his eyes, “It has something to do with me?”

“You could say that,” Blackgold forced a smile.

“Specifics!”

Blackgold organised his thoughts, “So… When Her Excellency received the coordinates you sent over, she immediately left for Faelor. There was even a big fight in that plane with an unknown existence and she returned injured. Her Excellency rested a few days before going out once more, but this time it was far worse. She gave us a few instructions and immediately shut herself in, not saying who she’d fought; she only made a vague mention of Faelor. Once she entered repose, us old folks read between the lines. As far as we can tell, her target in the two big battles was likely…” he took in a deep breath, “... the gods of Faelor.”

Richard was dumbstruck for a moment, his voice hoarse even when it returned, “Why would Master fight the gods of Faelor?”

The grey dwarf began to wipe his sweat, the image in the magic circle starting to grow unstable as though it had been disturbed.

“Blackgold! Dare to cut off the transmission and I’ll come find you in the Deepblue immediately!”

Richard’s angry shout scared the grey dwarf. It was only at that point that he realised how aggressive this youth had become. Although far from Gaton’s aura that commanded fear, Richard’s rage held a hint of power.

“Alright, but you can’t tell Her Excellency that it was me who told you these things. Of course, what I’m saying now is just speculation. Speculation, got it? Just speculation!

“The first time Her Excellency went to Faelor, she had rushed over the same moment she received the coordinates. She used a beyslace spider crystal to construct a passage directly, and you know such a method normally brings you right outside the plane’s protective sphere. It’s easy to attract the attention of the gods of the plane if you break the walls to enter, just like running to someone’s house and kicking their door open.

“Her Excellency had only left for a short while before she was beaten back, and what chased her through the portal was a surge of divine power! Although she looked to be in a sorry state, her injuries from that weren’t really heavy; with her physique that surpassed a dragon’s, she only needed two days of rest to recover. The injuries were only because she had been too excited, going in unprepared. But the second time, it was different…”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Pei

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA