Book 4, Chapter 42

The Price Of Boredom

Nyris turned around with a pale face, his expression warping further when he saw no sign of any magic in Richard’s hand.

He’d been duped! Thinking over it, this battle had been difficult from the very beginning and he hadn’t gained any pleasure at all from the fight. Richard’s style left him extremely uncomfortable, leaving him constantly in fear of being tricked if he went all out. However, because he didn’t go all out he was pressured endlessly and beaten down. On the defensive all the way to the end, he had lost to Richard’s deception.

“Who taught you to be so despicable?” the prince asked angrily.

“Beye.”

Nyris immediately decided not to pursue the matter any further. However, he quickly discovered another problem— how had Richard managed to fight so long like a warrior? When he was introduced to Mana Armament, he was thoroughly shocked. Part of that came from the mystery of the rune itself, but a major factor was just how fast Richard’s skill at runecrafting was growing. He could craft grade 3 runes within a decade of picking up the art? Richard was now on equal standing with Lunor, definitely qualified to become a grand or perhaps even saint runemaster in the future.

Still, he couldn’t agree with the functions of Mana Armament. The powerhouses of the world had been cleanly divided into classes over many millennia. Warriors, mages, clerics… they all had their own role, their own purpose. Everyone was focused on walking furthest on the path of their choice instead of allowing themselves to be distracted by other fields of learning. For instance, Nyris wouldn’t even try to become a level 1 mage, not because he lacked the talent but because his talent wasn’t enough. He could become a great mage at minimum if he chose that route, but as a warrior he could easily surpass the saint realm.

From this line of thinking, a rune like Mana Armament that used mana to imitate energy was complete nonsense. On top of that, it occupied a precious rune slot. A mage like Richard was meant to focus on spells of great power, what use was there in putting this thing on his body? Mages were meant to be protected by warriors, they had no need for any melee ability.

Richard smiled, not arguing at all. Only those who had been to a battlefield of despair could understand why Saint Lawrence had designed the Mana Armament rune. Mages could not always be protected; whenever one fell behind, they would need the ability to protect themselves at melee range. A dead mage couldn’t exactly cast any spells.

Mana Armament wasn’t just a way for a mage to protect themselves; it was also a way to kill enemies. Just like Richard had when dealing with Nyris, one didn’t need to care what methods were used as long as they gained the advantage.

Although Richard had properly tested out his new rune, Nyris was nowhere near as cheerful. He kept muttering that he would definitely win if he used all his strength, allowing Richard to see his prowess. The miserable face looked like that of a little beauty who had been taken advantage of by a man.

Richard obviously didn’t care, handing the prince a Savage Strike set in exchange for some materials. This one rune had used up all his reserves, and if he didn’t restock he would be on the verge of going broke. The day wasn’t too far off when Rosie would be consuming materials as well.

Having bid Nyris farewell, Richard returned to his residence and began a new cycle of meditation and runecrafting. Nyris delivered the tomes and materials in a few days, but that didn’t change his schedule at all.

Outside the city, the warriors continued to fell trees every day as they opened a path towards the Tree of Life. The gunpowder almost ran out, but the Deepblue managed to send a second batch in time. This one wasn’t sent through the transmission formation, but with a two-footed wyvern instead. The ten tons of gunpowder was enough for these woodcutters to use for a very long time.

Two months passed in the blink of an eye, and the thirty-kilometre path was completely opened up. The situation at the Tree of Life had been stable all this while, with no peculiarities at all. The warriors guarding there were so bored they were going crazy, thirsting for battle instead of the endless monotony. When Richard learned of this situation, he immediately arranged for a rotating roster of guards that was replaced every three months.

There had been some conflict between the defending troops and the elves. A few warriors believed that the elves were now their slaves, and that they themselves were of a higher rank. Without their tribal tattoos, the forest elves were rather good-looking. Although they couldn’t compare to Norland’s high elves, they were still far beyond human standards. A few of the bored warriors hadn’t been able to keep it in their pants, trapping a lone female elf for some fun on this foreign plane.

These warriors had been met with a pitiful outcome. Three were injured, one killed. There was no real difference between the strength of elven men and women, and adults were level 10 on average. On top of that, these tribal natives were difficult to tame and possessed a strong bloodlust. A large portion of the reason for their surrender was the tree of life, a smaller part being that their grand elder had given in as well. With the warriors infringing on the purity that was so important to her, the elf had erupted and fought them off. She then fled into the forest, her whereabouts unknown.

This incident had left the defending troops and the elven tribe in a tense standoff, where war could erupt at any moment. The human soldiers demanded for the elves to hand over the murderer, while the elves wanted to severely punish the soldiers who had attempted to rape one of their own. If not for the elite humanoid knights and the grand elder quelling them in time, a heated battle would have erupted between the two sides. If they really fought, even with the five elites the humans would be wiped out.

When the word reached him, Richard immediately ordered the elite humanoid knights to capture all the offenders and bring them back to Emerald City to be put on trial. The humans were sentenced to death, while the elf was declared not guilty. The grand elder and one of the druids were invited to the city to watch over the execution.

This decision quickly calmed the wrath of the elves, but a huge ruckus erupted amongst the human troops. It mostly came from Lina’s subordinates; the Dragon Mage had always been amiable to her soldiers, so they hadn’t experienced such stern discipline before. Besides, commanders normally turned a blind eye to the actions of their men on foreign planes; after all, these soldiers had to leave their homes for long periods of time. This was an unwritten rule in most planar armies. However, the five elite knights were extremely vicious. They killed every warrior that tried to start a riot there and then, suppressing the revolt through sheer terror.

Seven days later at the central square of Emerald City, the three injured warriors were executed by hanging. The grand elder and a druid personally saw through the entire process, thereby giving up any doubts on Richard.

There was some good news with this execution, specifically in terms of Jubu Quickwind. The young druid who had been imprisoned all this while had finally decided to surrender. Jubu was approximately twenty years old, only a youth amongst the elves that lived to more than two hundred. However, he was already level 14 himself, not far off from the grand elder’s level 17 strength. The reason for his quick growth was his ability to harmonise with the Tree of Life.

Another advantage was that his actions intimidated the original defenders of Emerald City, explicitly telling them who was in command. One problem he had on this plane was that he had very few of his own troops— outside of twenty Archeron warriors, ten rune knights, and ten humanoid knights, he only had his own followers. Although all of them were well-trained and powerful, their numbers paled in comparison to the 2,000 original troops. Ever since he had arrived at this plane, he had done nothing but cut trees without any great battles. The one fight that he did start had been done in secret, with only thirty warriors and no news of how the event had played out. Most of the original troops had thought too little of him until he showed his own fangs. He was a royal runemaster, but his young face made people ignore his accomplishments and power.

The situation was currently in a deadlock. In a situation where they couldn’t shatter the will of the forest, Richard couldn’t lay his hand on the other two trees of life. He had wanted an enormous battle to show off his might with, but the other two tribes were only skirting around him without even sending too many trees forward. The tribe that had surrendered would help him protect the one tree at no cost, but wouldn’t lead an attack on their own kin. He had no good options to deal with these stubborn creatures that didn’t care for their own lives.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA