Book 4, Chapter 46

Original Sin

The plot behind all the threats was quite simplistic, but Richard felt like humouring it for a bit. His power in Faelor had already been consolidated, and he himself had been sharpened by battle upon battle. These days, he felt like using force to deal with whatever issues appeared.

But just how unstoppable was he? Ignoring the entire plane, even the Iron Triangle Empire, could he even wipe out the royal family of the Sequoia Kingdom without any difficulties? He calmed himself down, sweeping his hand across the desk to send all the documents to the rubbish bin. He then summoned a servant, “Take these things out and burn them all.”

Once the servant left, he went over and patted Gangdor on the shoulder, “You’ve done well these few months.”

The simple compliment left the brute delighted, “Thanks, boss! Then you should bring Olar back here, I want to go with you!”

Richard laughed; it appeared like even Gangdor was at a level where he could bully the elf now. Still, he patted him heavily once more, “No, you must stay. However, Zendrall is going to be leaving with me.”

“Is that okay?” Gangdor asked seriously. Zendrall was a native of Faelor, him leaving the plane could brook some consequences.

“He’s fought by our side for so long, I don’t think there’s a problem with trusting him.”

“Then I don’t have a problem with it.” The brute didn’t press any further, turning to leave.

“Right, send him over, I need to speak to him,” Richard called after the departing figure, receiving a nod in response.

A few minutes later, the necromancer walked into Richard’s study, bowing to him in greeting, “What do you wish of me, Master?”

Richard had thought of a few approaches to take, but he gave them all up to be direct, “Zendrall, do you want to broaden your horizons? In another plane?”

“Another plane?!” Zendrall’s breathing sped up. He was a mage, a true seeker of knowledge. For such people, the temptation of exploring other planes was near irresistible. His intelligence quickly showed itself in his immediate response, “You need to have no doubts about my loyalty, Master!”

“Good,” Richard nodded, “Prepare yourself, we leave in a few days.”

Right after Zendrall left, Gangdor quietly snuck back into the study, “B-boss… There’s something else I need to tell you…”

Richard had been expecting another request to go to the Forest Plane, but what met him instead was a report about abnormal behaviour from the humanoid knights. Even as Gangdor described it, Richard could feel the pure terror the event had inspired in the normally headstrong man.

It left him with a startling realisation: what if the broodmother refused to follow his own orders one day? Would the drones she had created still obey his commands, or would they bow to her? The thought left him frightened as well.

Still, he managed to maintain his calm expression, patting Gangdor gently, “No need to worry. The broodmother is contracted to me with her soul, she helped you in that crucial moment because of my orders.”

Gangdor’s expression softened a little, but he was still clearly worried as he left. Richard sat at his desk and poured himself a glass of wine, savouring it for a few moments before deciding to visit Flowsand. He had ordered the broodmother to help Gangdor, but that didn’t imply bypassing the man to take command of the troops.

Flowsand was flipping through the Book of Time in her room, no discernible hints as to what information she had summoned to its pages. Seeing Richard entered, she didn’t so much as raise her head, “Hmm… You didn’t bring Rosie along. Are you ill, or did you finally start to miss me?”

Richard grunted, giving her pert bottom a slap, “Nonsense! Be that insolent again, and watch how I’ll deal with you!”

Flowsand shook her bottom and eyed him disdainfully, “You? Deal with me? Hmph, show me your worst!”

This left him smiling bashfully. Flowsand’s… martial arts were quite formidable. If she wasn’t kept under control, he wouldn’t even last ten minutes in their ‘spars.’ However, now was not the time for another contest. He started kneading her head, “Alright, enough of that. There’s something important.”

“I’d rather every visit from you is for private matters,” Flowsand said, but she still closed the Book of Time and crossed her legs on the bed.

“Do you think the broodmother is trustworthy? I get the feeling she’s running out of control lately.”

Flowsand held her chin in hand, “The broodmother… It’s also called the seed of war and destruction. The name represents a path towards power, one engraved deep within her very soul.

“Do you remember when she awakened using your blood?”

Richard nodded.

“You may not know this, but it wasn’t just blood you lost in that ritual. The hatchling broodmother analysed that blood to touch upon your soul, absorbing a bit of your existence to make her’s whole. That is how she awakened, and why she shares her soul with yours. What, then, do you have to worry about? If she starts ignoring orders on occasion, she’s just doing what she thinks is necessary to help you.”

Flowsand’s explanation dissipated some of Richard’s fears, but the worry wasn’t completely gone. However, she raised the Book of Time once more, “Alright, is there anything else? If not, I’m going back to reading.”

Richard had planned to leave immediately for a word with the broodmother, but upon hearing Flowsand’s words he changed his mind. “No,” he laughed, “But there’s plenty of private matters. I think it’s time I deal with you again.”

“Smart man! Come on!” Flowsand’s eyes brightened as she reached out and grabbed him by the collar, attaching her body to his. Both legs wrapping around him, she leaned backwards and used the strength in her waist to hoist him into the air, slamming back down on the bed. She then bucked up and straddled him, pinning him firmly below.

……

It was a long time before Richard left Flowsand’s room, absolutely exhausted. Still, he forced a smile and shook his head. Flowsand was a great catch, but that didn’t mean she was easy to endure. This little skirmish that was beyond his own planning was a punishment in disguise for neglecting her over the past few months. That said, as long as she was happy it was worth it.

He sat down in his study and drank some water, waiting for his fatigue to fade. Concentrating his mind, he prodded the broodmother’s consciousness.

“Master, you’ve returned.” When the familiar voice rang in his mind, it was rather unclear.

“Hmm, what happened to you?” he asked with worry, “You seem so… sluggish.”

“I am currently advancing to level 7, Master. The process is almost complete, but until I finish I will be a little weak.”

“Level 7!” Richard was astonished and elated.

“Indeed. My evolution is yet to complete, but most of the possible upgrades are now clear. You can make your choice.”

What came next was an avalanche of information. With the blood of Zuka now fully analysed, there was a new option for drones: the winged serpent. This airborne unit was about level 11, able to spit acid, poison, or lightning. Its defences were rather mediocre, but its sheer agility gave it several advantages. It would be an especially decisive weapon in sieges, able to inflict significant casualties. Richard hesitated a little, but he eventually decided to add them to his army mix.

Outside of the winged serpents, the broodmother now had new information on her analysis of different races. The growth of his blessing of truth seemed to have had an effect on her abilities; although her ability at analysis didn’t really change, she could now present it in a much more concise form with solid numbers. One benefit was that she now knew just how many beings of a race she still needed to digest to be able to design a drone based on that species. If she consumed more than what was needed, she could continue to use the new information to even improve the creature; of course, these improvements would mostly be minuscule.

The level of the drones was directly related to the broodmother’s own level. Right now she could spawn level 11 units, but at level 17 she would be able to produce legendary level 21 drones. Even if an entire race was capped at level 19, she would be able to undo those restrictions and still spawn a legendary unit.

That said, Richard didn’t know whether the broodmother could even reach such a level. Still, even if she never advanced another level, she would still deserve her billing as a powerful weapon in planar wars.

The broodmother listed all the races she had analysed to date. Surprisingly, the first was humans at 170%, while the second was goblins at 150%. Winged serpents stood at an impressive 103%, while those of some more common races like dwarves, elves, barbarians, and the like were closer to the bottom.

Richard hesitated for a long while, but he eventually asked the question on his mind, “How many elves do you need to devour to finish that analysis?”

The broodmother went quiet for a moment, soon coming back with a response, “About 200, Master.”

“Are there any requirements in terms of power or something else?”

“No, the only requirement is that they be purebloods. If they’re half-elves, I will need around 700. However, I must remind you that dark elves and surface elves are different species.”

Richard’s face was already buried deep in his hands, fingers gripping tightly at his hair. Still, the message he sent was extremely clear, “Alright. Tell me how many I need for the following races: barbarians, dwarves, orcs, trolls, ogres.”

He was quickly sent back a string of numbers: 290, 800, 750, 800, 1100.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: JH

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA