Book 4, Chapter 20

Professional

Rosie’s greeting caused Nyris to freeze for a moment. Her reputation in Faust was much greater than his own— something beautiful women always had an advantage in— and while he himself was a prince he wasn’t much different from a core member of the other families of Faust until he was granted more status by his father. In all their previous meetings, Rosie had spoken to him on equal grounds, but now she was greeting him like someone of a lower rank.

Thankfully, he was a smart man. He quickly understood that she was likely greeting him based on her relationship as Richard’s companion. “Why are you here?” he asked, extremely curious. He had been present during the big bet with Young Mensa, but he hadn’t taken notice of the further developments.

“I am currently Lord Richard’s maid and personal life assistant,” Rosie answered flatly. 

“Maid and… life assistant?” Nyris couldn’t make sense of it. Firstly, he didn’t understand why the pearl of the Mensa Family that many youths of Faust were drawn to like moths was now a maid, and secondly… What kind of profession was a life-assistant anyway? Wasn’t she a mage?

Rosie was dressed extremely plainly with no ornaments, completely different from her precious image. The contrast was so great Nyris’ mind drew a blank. Eventually, she just flashed him a thin smile, “Actually, I’m just his lover and assistant.”

“Oh, not bad…” the Prince answered as per usual practice, but only then did he find that his mouth had moved faster than his mind. He smiled in embarrassment, “Forgive me, this was just quite unexpected. I still remember that you’re an ambitious lady with many thoughts.”

Rosie smiled wider herself to indicate that she thought nothing of it, “Do you not think it is easier for me to achieve my goals with my current status instead of as a duchess, Your Highness?”

Nyris’ eyes twinkled and he looked her up and down, “You’ve got guts!”

“Not exactly. It’s just that an unexpected opportunity presented itself to me, and I just as unexpectedly grasped it. Of course I have to pay the price for that, to somebody.”

Nyris shook his head, “Anyone who can grab hold of an opportunity is always prepared. There are no surprises.”

“My Lord is in his laboratory right now,” Rosie deflected the question, “Do you wish to see him, Your Highness?”

Nyris glanced at her, “There’s no need for you to address me so formally. The same holds for Agamemnon too.”

“But you are Lord Richard’s friend, Your Highness.”

Nyris laughed, “And I’d like to think I’m now your friend too. Unless you want things otherwise?”

She didn’t answer, quietly pointing at the door to the lab.

Nyris walked in to find Richard in front of his desk, completely focused on crafting a rune. He knew not to disturb, so he stood quietly at the side. This was the first time he was seeing Richard craft personally, and after a while his gaze changed. Richard’s hands were so stable it left him frightened.

Only after finishing the curve he was working on did Richard greet Nyris, simultaneously changing out the ink in his pen, “What’s gotten you interested in my lab?”

“Richard, I can’t take it anymore! There’s nothing to do all day! If I stay in this wretched place any longer, I’m going to rot away! How much longer do we have to stay cooped in like this?” The Prince let all his frustrations over the past few days explode.

Richard smiled, “What, you can’t endure this any longer? Patience is a virtue!”

“Fuck patience!” Nyris spat out. The sight of the Fourth Prince swearing could somehow give people some impulses.

Richard laughed as he repeated himself, “Patience really is a virtue.”

After spending about two full years in Faelor, sharpened by the whetstone of despair, Richard now understood the importance of patience. However, Nyris hadn’t experienced as many setbacks in life. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, grown up with that silver spoon, and was now trying to establish his own career while still feeding from that silver spoon. He had anything one could ask for except patience.

Looking at his friend beginning to lean forward with a malicious gaze as though he would tear the rune apart, Richard had no choice but to raise his arms in defeat, “Alright, alright! We’ll send our troops out tomorrow.”

“Really?” Nyris brightened up, “Are we going to storm towards the elves’ nest?”

“No, we’re going to chop trees.” When they were living off the desolate deserts of the Bloodstained Lands, Richard had felt blessed every time he saw a small shady forest. It meant a safe source of water and a comfortable resting area. Any green in that boundless red would make one feel delighted. It was only here that he understood there could be too much of the colour of life.

Early in the morning, a group of fully armed soldiers headed out of the city gates in formation, arriving at the forest that was less than a hundred metres away. The soldiers in the centre were all quite burly, wielding giant axes; it was obvious to see that strength was their forte. Beside them were rows of heavily armoured soldiers with tower shields.

Plate armour grew cold, wet, and uncomfortable in this humid weather, but no soldier dared to head outside the city without it on. The natives could target them at any moment, and even chainmail was completely incapable of blocking their arrows. There were gaps in the plate mail as well, but armour that was completely impervious would cost ten times as much; even a captain wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Richard, Nyris, and Agamemnon were walking together at one side, the first of which appeared relaxed and the last of which was expressionless as always. It was the royal boy that had a dark expression on his delicate face, pouting in annoyance. What caught the most attention was his equipment— Nyris hadn’t brought out the giant sword but a giant two-handed axe with a short shaft. It had to weigh at least half a ton, with black air and purple lightning spiralling around it. This was obviously a legendary weapon as well.

If Gangdor were here to see it, he would surely be full of complaints. The brute saw his axe the way most men saw women. He would be satisfied with what he had if there was no other option, but the moment something better appeared he would want to change immediately.

Chopping trees was an activity that needed strength, and this was doubly true on the Forest Plane. The soldiers scattered in all directions upon the officer’s command, and the burly men with axes headed to the trees to chop them down. There were two shieldmen guarding every woodcutter.

The trees that were urged on by the native elves were incomparably solid, and the grain was extremely fine as well. This made them very difficult to cut down, and because there was no good point to chop at the ruptured sections split along the grain. This wood couldn’t be used for construction.

Most trees would form a shallow groove if chopped at, but these ones only formed craters instead. Pieces of wood fell off with each strike, hard as rocks. The soldiers called it stonewood, their hatred for it even greater than what they felt for the native elves.

A level 5 warrior with abundant physical strength and supporting spells could normally only cut down a few trees in a day. Besides being burnt for fuel, these stonewood trees had basically no other uses as well. This was a stupid way to push the forest back, but it was also the only one available. Be it the Schumpeters or Gaton, they had fought this war of attrition against the native forest. If the woodcutting was stopped for half a month, the forest would completely drown out the city.

However, Richard was prepared this time. He had specifically brought along a batch of wood-cleaving axes, giant weapons with multiple sharpness enchantments to make woodcutting easier. Only a few of the powerful soldiers in the army would be given these types of axes normally, used specifically to break through walls and gates in sieges. However, Richard was generous enough to buy 500 of them in one go.

However, he couldn’t even pick out 400 soldiers able to use these axes in total. Still, instead of having them sent back to Norland, he instructed for the extra axes to be used in rotation to increase their longevity. In the eyes of Lina, this was a hateful waste.

Under the gaze of everyone present, a soldier with bulging muscles even at his neck took a deep breath, summoning enough strength to lift the axe and swinging at the tree trunk with a loud cry. *Crack!* The blade embedded itself deep into the trunk, much more effective than a regular blade. The soldier was delighted, roaring thunderously as he began to chop like the wind. In only a few minutes, a giant tree that one couldn’t even wrap their arms around fell down with a rumble.

The surrounding soldiers immediately burst into cries of delight, venting their long-suppressed anger. Their voices approached a deafening crescendo even as the stonewood let loose a mournful cry of death. Their efficiency in clearing out the woods had instantly been raised dozens of times.

Richard stroked his short moustache, saying proudly to the Dragon Mage, “How’s this? I got a way out. This is called being professional!”

Lina glared at him fiercely and snorted, causing her ample chest to bounce up and down. She obviously knew wood-cleaving axes were a good idea, but each one cost 500 gold and had little other use. Few places in Norland supplied them, and with even the Schumpeters barely having enough there was no need to talk about Gaton’s situation. She herself couldn’t even pay her soldiers properly, so where would she get the money to buy these things? It was impossible for her to be like Richard, spending 250,000 gold in one fell swoop. It was still alright if the powerful soldiers were given their own axes, but there were over a hundred remaining!

The movements of the Dragon Mage caused Richard’s gaze to involuntarily rest on her breasts. He had to admit the scenery was quite captivating.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA