Book 3, Chapter 141

The Mage Association

The border guard of the Empire had finally responded to the alerts on the fifth day, dispatching a lightly armoured army on Richard’s heels. However, with all his men being mounted, Richard was perpetually out of reach of this army who had footsoldiers mixed in. He even managed to take care of the last three strongholds over two days without them reaching him at all.

On the eighth day, he examined the map in his hands only to find out that every stronghold he had marked had been wiped out. He closed the map and sighed to his left and right, “There’s nothing left to attack.”

Gangdor’s eyes lit up with an ominous glint, “No, boss! There’s a bunch of newbies following behind us!”

Richard intentionally looked at the surrounding young nobles and shrugged, “That army is ten times the size of ours!”

Gangdor abruptly brandished the large black axe in his hands, roaring menacingly, “My axe is thirsty for blood, and they’re just 3,000 pigs!”

The epic-grade battleaxe had sharply increased Gangdor’s battle might. In the past seven days, outside of that one interesting event on the first day where they surrounded a saint, the rest of the battles had been too small for him to exhibit his might.

The elite bat he had sent to scout showed Richard that the army was still pursuing them desperately, already within ten kilometres of his location.

‘They really don’t know better!’ he thought to himself, turning to look at his 300 knights. Ruthless was not enough of a word to describe these machines anymore. His smile grew a little vicious as he decided on a direct attack on the fools.

That was a battle of pure destruction. The chasing army was utterly defeated, the survivors of the calamity scattering in hope of escape. They left over a thousand dead bodies behind.

The unicorn halted with a single thought from Richard, turning a full circle on the spot. Watching the imperial soldiers escaping as far as the eye could see, Richard held no interest in pursuing them. That would shave away at the numbers further, but it held no meaning.

“Let’s go!” he urged his mount forward, heading back to Bluewater Oasis.

The numerous young nobles behind him all spurred their horses, following closely. Their gazes upon him were now filled with a fervour; they were a group of hot-blooded youths after all, and Richard’s soldiers were amazing. The power of this cavalry would leave anyone in despair, and the seemingly ordinary followers had been able to kill off a saint in under a minute. Richard himself didn’t seem too outrageous in terms of level, but every spell of his held unthinkable might. He basically checked every box for the definition of a glorious hero.

And what had they done? From the beginning to the end, they had just watched on without any need to fight. Richard’s intentions were very clear at this point, they had only been brought along to witness his glory. After this trip, most of them turned into zealous supporters just like Zim.

……

A few days later, within Bluewater. Richard was in his command centre, a trading path that passed through the Bloodstained Lands now on the large map on his wall. He picked up a pen and pondered for a long while before drawing an X in the north near the Iron Triangle, followed by another on the path towards the Sequoia Kingdom. “It’s time to set up checkpoints,” he muttered to himself.

The Bloodstained Lands were quite even in terms of terrain, so one could enter from any side. It was impossible to seal the place off completely, so Richard instead chose to imitate the model of bandits and have teams of a few dozen cavalrymen everywhere. If a caravan refused to pay the toll, then the horde would converge upon it; he didn’t mind taking all of their goods as a fee either.

He had already decided on the troops that would take part in this process. The nobles of the Sequoia Kingdom who had participated in the project would be roped in, a fee distributed based on the efforts of their soldiers.

Once all the large and small bandit organisations were wiped out from the Bloodstained Lands, this barren area would start raking in money.

He drew multiple marks on Bluewater Oasis. With the Lighthouse of Time present, this naturally had to become his military base in Faelor. His current plans were to build a magic tower to protect it.

Lastly, there was the Sequoia Kingdom’s Mage Association. These mages that were useless outside of having some mana were surprisingly well-behaved, not doing anything drastic ever since their return. This was something entirely out of his expectations, but thinking of how Kamy and the silver-robed mages had behaved he just knew they wouldn’t let him off like that. They were likely scheming something; when they did make their move, it would definitely be serious.

He picked up a stack of pages that contained information on the Association. The sixteen so-called grand mages were listed grandly, some with detailed information on them while others were briefer. What attracted his attention was the mage called Leon. At level 17, the ability to caste terrifying grade 9 spells would make him a great talent even in the Deepblue. Leon was only 37 this year, which meant it was possible for him to reach level 18 in his lifetime and join the ranks of the premier powerhouses of this plane. There was even a chance for him to become a legendary being.

Leon had reached level 12 at the tender age of 24, making him a rare genius in the Sequoia Kingdom. The problem was that Richard was level 12 as well, and he was only eighteen this year. Although he looked much more mature than he actually was given his facial hair, his young face could not fool anyone. The most someone would think was that he was about twenty. This was a genius surpassing Leon at odds with the Association. If their positions were reversed, Richard wouldn’t mind eliminating such an opponent no matter how confident he was in himself.

So what did the Association’s silence indicate? If he was the chairman of the Association and suddenly crossed paths with a mysterious young mage that possessed unrivalled talent and power that could harm his organisation’s finances, the first order of business would naturally be an investigation into his origins.

If someone were to really track down his origins, Richard’s history wouldn’t be concealed for long. Even with the Direwolf Duke’s protection, even if his birth and genealogy had been altered before, not everything could be completely removed. This was the reason he had entered the Bloodstained Lands in the first place. The place was so chaotic that one couldn’t easily trace someone who made a name there. However, this challenge was not impossible for the Mage Association to overcome.

Richard suddenly felt the need to give the Mage Association something to do so that they wouldn’t have the time to investigate him. Perhaps… Perhaps provoking them was a good choice. He put the information in his hands down and opened the door to the command centre, telling the servant outside, “Invite Baron Schachter over.”

A short while later, the tall and slender Baron Schachter entered the command centre. The Baron was level 12 at about 33 years of age, considered quite knowledgeable about military affairs. His foresight wasn’t half bad either, so he was considered a promising noble. His father, Earl Burr, had already publicly announced that Schachter would succeed his title. The only thing left to do was making this official through the royal family.

Richard welcomed the Baron with enthusiasm, “Lord Schachter! I have a business proposal that I hope you are willing to consider. I wish to purchase your portion of ores and metal from the Bloodstained Highway project in exchange for enchanted weapons and armour, all superior-grade. These are the prices.”

Schachter immediately grew excited. Richard’s enchanted equipment was now the dream of every noble and based on the price brought up he realised he could get ten sets of equipment including shields and weapons for warriors. This meant a squad of personal guards that were comparable to a Duke’s! These guards would immediately make him a hot topic amongst high society for a few months. Earl Burr had always wanted to change the equipment of his guards, but he had found it difficult to source such a large batch of good equipment. If he gave this equipment to his father, Schachter was sure that his status as successor would be cemented!

The trade was quickly finalised, both sides satisfied with what they got. Richard obtained a large amount of precious metals and ores that he desperately needed, skipping the middleman costs and giving out only a few sets of equipment. On the other hand, Earl Burr’s territory was only a few dozen kilometres away from the Mage Association headquarters. This was one of the regions where the Association held the greatest influence.

Seeing the equipment Schachter sent back, those old mages would certainly remember something.

……

Half a month later, the peace of a little town called Lausanne on the bank of the beautiful Niwa Lake was destroyed.

The little town was beautiful and lavish, twelve magic towers surrounding it. Many of those weaving through the town wore garments that indicated their ranks in the Mage Association, the ratio of mages here hundreds of times higher than in other cities. Every unremarkable little shop of the many on the main street was selling at least one or two rare materials.

Lausanne was the headquarters of the Sequoia Kingdom’s Mage Association. The twelve magic towers were the dwellings of the twelve grand mages that lived here.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA