Book 3, Chapter 145

Guide of Secrets

An entire hour later, a new rune appeared on Waterflower’s back. It was a pattern with a dark blue background, resembling the mysterious stars in the night sky. This was the Shield of Stars, a rune similar to the original Truesilver Ornament that boosted her defence and resistance to magic and the elements. Outside of the protective properties, it had one entirely new function: it allowed one to channel astral energy. This was a precondition for the Guide of Secrets’ ability.

Once the Shield of Stars was complete, Richard downed a vitality potion and rested for a few minutes before picking up his pen once more. “Now is the time for the Heart of the Wild. Come, lie down over here.”

The young lady obeyed, moving over to the bed under the window where Richard spent his time reading. She lay down on her side in a bid to hide her private parts as much as possible.

“Turn around.” Richard’s voice was exceptionally gentle, removing some of her unease. She turned around slowly, baring the entirety of her body to him. Her eyes were welded shut, but one could see the eyes moving rapidly under their cover. She was clearly extremely nervous, goosebumps all over her stomach. When the cold tip of the magic pen fell upon her right breast, the young woman squealed softly. 

Grade 2 custom rune, Heart of the Wild. It was located opposite the original location of Counterguard which was across her heart, covering an extensive area that blanketed the entire right breast. The rune’s purpose was to absorb a certain amount of the wearer’s life force, allowing them a single full-strength attack in times of emergency. This attack could be used if one ever approached death, even if their powers were sealed. It was a trump card that could turn the tables in a dire circumstance.

The rune’s positioning made it quite difficult to tattoo on; Richard needed to concentrate heavily to steady his right hand. By the time it was completed, his forehead was covered in sweat. He himself was at an age where he was particularly hot-blooded, and he couldn’t bring himself to ignore Waterflower’s supple breasts. Of course, he didn’t particularly need to either,

He stood up and flexed his aching limbs, drinking a glass of iced water in an attempt to hide the changes to his lower body. Then again, Waterflower was an assassin with superior senses; he wasn’t certain that his clumsy attempts would be able to fool her.

All that remained was to enhance the remaining five grade 1 runes. This was a complicated and delicate task, but it took only two hours for Richard’s pen to turn all of them to grade 2. Outside of some iterative improvements, there were some extra bonuses as well.

First came the improvements to Dark Sight. This gave the rune extended range, also increasing its resistance to certain disruptive curses. Call of the Wild was improved into Master of the Wilderness, stretching from the calf to the ankle. Outside of the original ability to ease travelling through rough terrain, it now improved one’s sense of danger in the wild and their ability to ambush in complicated lands.

Next came the enhancement to Shadow Seal, which stretched from the right arm to the back of both palms. Activating it would hide one’s breathing and allow them to speed up their attacks greatly. Attacks also gained an addition armour and spell penetration. The Truesilver Ornament became the Truegold Ornament, increasing its defence and resistances.

Finally, Counterguard was enhanced into the Guardian of Destiny. It allowed one to temporarily link their soul to their master’s given permission, improving the strength of their soul by several orders of magnitude. Under a certain threshold, one could even reflect any incoming mental attacks.

When Richard finished his last stroke, all seven runes on the young lady’s body glowed simultaneously and fused into one. Seeing the perfect body in front of him, Richard felt an immense sense of accomplishment welling up within himself.

Dark Sight, Master of Wilderness, Shadow Seal, Truegold Ornament, Shield of Stars, Guardian of Destiny, and Heart of the Wild. So far, this was the magnum opus of his life, the pinnacle of a grade 2 rune set. A rune knight wearing this set would completely overshadow any grade 3 rune knight that wasn’t a set knight. As far as runes went, Waterflower with the Guide of Secrets was superior even to Gaton’s thirteen.

The core of this set was the Shield of Stars and its ability to channel astral energy, giving its owner some degree of prophetic ability. This was something Richard had only derived after his own astral affinity had reached the third level.

The set’s name was the name of its ability as well: the Guide of Secrets. When it was activated, its owner would be granted the ability to see through souls and time itself, allowing one to identify their enemy’s weaknesses and land exceedingly lethal attacks. Such great power naturally came with a great price: it could only be used once a day and only for a few seconds at that before one would need to start storing astral energy once more.

Waterflower finally had the strength to fight saints. If she was in the right situation, the combination of Breath of Darkness and Guide of Secrets would result in an incredible offence.

Richard was sweating profusely, feeling incredibly drained. Even with his great stamina, it had was nearly impossible for him to work continuously for several hours with unwavering focus. The fact that his target was Waterflower only made it all the more exhausting.

Waterflower lay still for some time before shooting off the bed, landing on her feet without so much as a sound. It was as though she was weightless, a sign of her growth in power. Her body was evidently not accustomed to the sudden boost.

She looked down and inspected the new runes on her body, not revealing her thoughts at all.

Without any runecrafting to distract him, Richard felt the temptation of the young lady’s body growing sharply. His own was reacting visibly, but irritated as he was he couldn’t help the arousal. He gave Waterflower’s bottom a sharp swat, “Dress yourself! Any more and I’m not sure what I’ll do next!”

Waterflower’s gaze passed across Richard’s lower body, and she obediently walked over to fetch her clothes. However, her movements were extremely slow, a stark contrast from the apex assassin she was.

She dressed normally, but Richard felt it to be excessively clumsy. However, the aftertaste of that swat was quite pleasing, her butt surprisingly tender and soft. It had started pushing back the moment his hand touched it, the force growing sharply until he broke contact. The sound of the smack was incomparably crisp.

Waterflower left with her usual silent demeanour. It wasn’t until she was out of the laboratory that a sudden realisation dawned upon him, couldn’t an assassin like her easily have evaded his hand? Richard shook his head, composing himself before starting to account for his profits over the past three months.

Piled up on his desk was a tower of magic boxes, each containing a set of Savage Barrier or Savage Strike for a total of seven. Looking back at his achievements over the past three months and taking into account Waterflower’s new set, he felt elated. There was also a breakthrough in the Mystic Glory series he was designing for Flowsand: a new rune by the name of Cryptic Heart. Its purpose was to raise the wearer’s casting speed and store a portion of their divine power, allowing them to form a barrier whenever necessary. The rune still needed finishing touches, but he believed he would be done within a month.

As for the seven sets, he could sell them to the royal family for as many million in gold or pass it to Alice to fulfil his obligation immediately and earn a powerful ally. The last option was to organise his own squad of rune knights; with such a force under his command, his forces would likely even surpass his cousin’s.

He pondered for a moment, deciding to start building his own army first. He had already identified about a dozen suitable candidates from amongst the Archeron warriors and his loyal knights, with the only problem being that they didn’t have enough mounts. However, the broodmother was an easy solution to that problem. He immediately contacted her and designed a magical mount based on a horse, giving it superior strength, endurance, and vitality. He even added in some abilities from the unicorn and winged serpent bloodlines, giving them magic resistance and a berserking ability that would greatly increase the creature’s speed and strength.

The production of these steeds was even lower than that for humanoids, with the broodmother only able to make two in a day. Since he was already here, he also expended four points of divinity to produce two unique mounts that towered over their ordinary brethren at twice and thrice the size respectively. At the sight of these two new creations, the corners of his lips curled up into a smile. Gangdor and Tiramisu would finally have mounts, no longer constrained to following the army on foot. He was curious as to what their reactions would be.

When he subconsciously checked on the number of available humanoid knights, he gasped. The broodmother had produced an additional 300 knights in the past few months, bringing his cavalry to 800 drones. This left him facing a shortage in gear; of the thousand sets he had brought back from Norland, two hundred had been sent to Bevry to arm his best knights. The Duke had thus returned to battle on the eastern front, decimating several old rivals.

As for Richard, he now had 800 such knights under his command.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: JH

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA