Richard noticed that the number of ogres required was exceptionally high. Ogres were a race blessed with physical strength, their voracious appetites limiting the spread of their population. Capturing 1,100 would be an immense undertaking.
“Why do you need so many ogres?” he asked the broodmother curiously.
“The number of a species I need is determined by the potential of the race. The more powerful the drones can become, the harder it is to analyse. I can even create dragons, Master, but I estimate I will need tens of thousands to analyse.”
Tens of thousands of dragons! Richard felt his eyes darken. Forget tens of thousands of dragons, he wasn’t even sure where to start searching for thousands of ogres. However, he furrowed his brows, “Right, the winged serpent analysis has already crossed 100%. I don’t recall even meeting any, so was that all from Zuka’s blood? Or did you eat a lot in the Land of Turmoil?”
“The former, Master. What you gave me was the blood of a demigod; if you can give me a cup of blood from a draconic deity, I can create red dragons at the very least. I might even be able to create black dragons right away.”
Divine dragon… Richard immediately shelved the idea. “Alright, I understand. Another thing, why did you interfere with Gangdor’s battle?”
“The confrontation against the Killer Whales? I have constantly been collecting information on Gangdor’s ability at command, and he is many levels worse than you. The humanoid knights are not meant to be used as he did, so I assumed command. The primary reason then was to minimise the overall casualties, but I also wished to demonstrate how best to use my drones. The first wave I sent forth came from the earliest batch I created. They had already lived past a third of their lives, so they needed to be disposed of.”
This answer left Richard speechless. Only now did he remember that it was approaching a year since the first of the humanoids had been spawned, and all the broodmother’s drones lasted a few years on average.
However, logic was not everything in the world of mortals. Richard sighed, “Is there any way to lengthen the lifespan of the humanoid knights?”
“Why, Master? Three years is already excessive. Based on the data I have on Faelor’s wars, a unit with a lifespan of one year is much more suitable. That will raise the power of my drones by at least a third.”
“Don’t ask why. Is it possible?”
“Master, there is absolutely no need! Only Phaser and the unicorn were given enough divinity to possess true souls, the rest are merely puppets. Their mission is to exterminate the enemy regardless of cost. There is no need for you to show affection to these disposable units.”
Disposable. It was a very apt description, one so accurate it left one raging. “Fine!” Richard said angrily, “They’re disposable!”
The broodmother suddenly went silent for a few moments before speaking up once more, “Master, your current emotions are very detrimental to continued success. Disposables are disposables, they are to be sacrificed without a thought when necessary. The responsibilities you bear are very heavy; if you wish to fulfil them, you must refrain from such sentiments.”
“What do you know of my responsibilities?!”
“Master, our souls are intertwined. Just as you can sense my existence whenever you wish, your own presence radiates into every fibre of my being. Your visions, your responsibilities are so powerful they are forced into me; I cannot ignore them even if I try. Just as Miss Flowsand said, my existence is beholden to yours.”
Richard felt like the broodmother was being oddly emotional for her cold self. It was only after this disagreement that he realised she had views of her own. “Then tell me, what should I do?” he asked, not sure why the question had come out of his mouth.
She seemed to think over it carefully, taking some time to reply, “Master, if you wish to fulfil all your responsibilities, explicit or otherwise, you must be prepared to forgo your reputation and morality. All your decisions must come from a point of rationality.”
“You’re saying…” he inhaled deeply, “I must be the one to bear all the sin?”
“This is the path you chose to walk. You cannot avoid being seen as a demon by ordinary men; if you cannot bear these sins on your back, then it will fall onto those you love and care about. You have awakened the first word of your truename, you cannot deny it.”
“I…” Richard straightened himself, “I understand. Thank you. Broodmother, do you have your own name?”
“Do you refer to my truename?”
“You have a truename as well?”
“I will awaken it when I reach level 10.”
“Very well!” he said without hesitation, “I’ll get you there as fast as I can!”
“… You will regret that decision one day.”
“What is this ‘regret’ you speak of?” Richard laughed it off, opening the door to his study and asking a servant to summon Gangdor. The burly man made his way over in only a few minutes, sweating profusely. He didn’t understand why Richard would summon him so suddenly.
“How many slaves are in our possession?” Richard asked.
“37,000 in total, boss.”
“First thing tomorrow, pick out 200 pureblood elves, 300 barbarians, and 900 dwarves. Escort them to the edges of the Land of Turmoil. If there aren’t enough, buy what we need from the other slavers. Understood?”
“The Land of Turmoil!” Gangdor felt a chill run down his spine. All of Richard’s followers knew what exactly hid in the Land of Turmoil. A mere guess as to what fate would befall these slaves and his heart shuddered.
Richard saw the struggle on the brute’s face, but he just waved a hand lightly, “You have your orders, carry them out.”
“… Yes, boss.”
Three days later, Richard silently returned to Norland. He was 1.6 million gold richer upon this return, a combination of income from taxes, caravans, enchanted equipment sales and the like. He also had plenty of ores and metals as well. The first thing he did upon his arrival was to spend 300,000 on replenishing his materials, giving another 300,000 to the old steward to take care of the family.
He then went alone to the underground room with the transmission array, wordlessly placing a small box with ten high-purity magic crystals within. Each of those crystals was worth 100,000 gold. When the glow from the array subsided, the box containing the crystals had disappeared. Richard didn’t wait for a response from the opposite end, turning around to leave.
“Richard? RICHARD!” Wild shouts rang out from the room a short while later, an image of Blackgold appearing above the circle. The grey dwarf was clutching the box with his eyes wide open, so shocked his jaw seemed to have dislocated from his skull. However, the shouts just echoed into an empty chamber.
Richard had already left the Archeron island for the Church of the Eternal Dragon, resolved to bear all the sin alone.
The Forest Plane hadn’t changed much from when Richard had last been there. The warriors were still working on taking down the trees, be it via axes or explosions. Ever since the second batch of improved gunpowder was delivered, the mages and alchemists present were busy innovating on new applications of it. For instance, they had now developed a little container to seal the gunpowder in which they could then place on a bigger hole in the tree trunk. The shrapnel couldn’t penetrate high-quality plate armour, but it could blast a deep hole in the stonewood. This method eliminated the need to drill a small hole and insert the rod carefully. It was admittedly rather crude, but it was more efficient as well.
The gunpowder was reserved for the stonewood alone. Other types of trees were cut down with the wood-cleaving axes, transported back to Emerald City for processing. The empty space around the city was growing quickly, a lack of appearances from the forest elves and their druids leaving a twitchy Nyris despondent.
Both the Prince and Agamemnon were surprised at Zendrall’s arrival. They hadn’t expected Richard to have such a high-level necromancer on hand, and a talented one at that who could likely become a grand mage.
After getting over his initial excitement upon arriving at the Forest Plane, Zendrall quickly understood the situation and his mission. The necromancer drew up a list of materials and started on a huge summoning formation to communicate with the plane of the dead, calling on undead creatures directly. The other mages assisted him to speed up the process, including grand mage Pamir and Richard himself. Zendrall was quite well-versed in necromancy, so the formation was enormous and powerful. It took an entire three days to finish despite many mages working on it.
Rosie had caught Richard’s eyes once more in the past three days, more so for her demeanour than her appearance. She was far too calm, silently working on the formation with unending focus. There seemed to be a different light to her face, one of absolute concentration that blinded her to anything else. The parts of the summoning formation she was working on were almost flawless, second only to Richard’s own inhuman work.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: JH
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA