Book 4, Chapter 53

Undercurrent

Lina risking her life had netted them a blood crystal that could likely help one awaken a new bloodline, something that was no less valuable than a greater offering. Had the child of the forest been allowed to escape, his terrifying speed would have allowed him to make it an untold distance away before he turned into a corpse.

However, that wasn’t the greatest gain of this battle. The friendship between Nyris, Agamemnon, and Richard had been forged strong in the face of a powerful enemy that left them all on the verge of death. All three had aided each other in combat, rushing into melee to ensure the others would not be killed. The decisions made in the heat of the moment had been based purely on instinct, with no chance to consider one’s interests.

Their personalities and appearances were wildly distinct, but all three youths were simmering volcanoes on the verge of eruption. They were growing into their own strengths, but had yet to bring their dreams into reality. Now, they were more coordinated than ever. They spoke less than they ever had since entering the plane, all busy with their own issues, but they occasionally met to sample wine and drink tea.

……

One afternoon, Richard, Nyris, and Agamemnon were gathered together to discuss their next steps in the plane. The elves nearby had suffered heavy losses, one tribe having surrendered and another’s tree of life forced to migrate. More than an entire tribe’s worth of druids had been killed in the latest battle, with an even more painful loss of the child of the forest.

Richard found out that these children of the forest were the most outstanding elven geniuses, guardians of the world tree nearby who could communicate with and borrow its power. Every child had their own unique abilities, all wooded areas a playground for them to act as they wished in. They could even communicate with all flora, using the greenery as their eyes and ears.

The forest elves were heavily dependant on the trees of life, which became world trees when they grew to the fullest. Every expansive region only had one world tree within, wherein that tree was akin to a deity. This made the children of the forest similar to champions. They carried one or more young leaves from their patron tree with them everywhere they went, consuming it before battle to use the tree’s energy to activate their own powerful bloodlines. The child that had dealt a huge blow to Richard’s army was only level 18 or 19, but with the leaf he had grown terrifying enough to kill a saint in one flurry of blows.

Thankfully, they found it quite unlikely for the elves to dare challenge them again in the short term. There was even a chance that the third tree of life nearby had moved out as well, heading deeper into the forest. Still, the next time they fought the elves they would likely face multiple children of the forest or other similarly powerful beings. They would need to be prepared.

The Schumpeters had truly left behind a powerful deterrence here. Element extraction and the crystallising toxin had obviously traumatised the natives so much that their ancient treants, children of the forest, and other powerful beings didn’t dare to appear close to the city. They had only fought back heavily after Richard stole away a tree of life. This was a blessing in disguise— had they been acting in full force from the start, he would have returned to a near unrecoverable situation.

After some discussion, the three eventually decided to auction off the blood crystal. All three of them came from powerful families already and had already awakened their abilities. Richard, in particular, couldn’t even keep up with all the abilities he did have, another one would be pointless. The Archeron bloodline was suppressing his elven one ever since his truename was awakened, so any fresh ability would have no chance to grow. Surprisingly enough, even their followers already had powerful bloodline abilities or better options to grow their strength. Using this blood crystal would be a huge waste to most, while those that would stand to benefit were too weak to use it without repercussions.

Although this item wasn’t all that useful to them, that didn’t stand true universally. There were some high-ranking nobles that hadn’t inherited any powerful bloodlines, and even those families with sometimes had successors who were duds. Such people would find this blood crystal invaluable.

None of the three left once the discussion came to an end, instead just sitting quietly with their own worries in mind. The silence was unnerving.

In the end, Nyris couldn’t endure it any longer, “How’s Lina doing?”

“Not… too well. Thankfully her mana can be restored, but her face… It might take a very long time.”

“Does she know?”

“Not yet. I’m worried she won’t be able to take it once she comes to. Can you guys think of anything?”

Nyris looked towards Agamemnon, who remained silent for some time longer before speaking, “I can only think of two options. The first is a ceremony to the old dragon in the hopes of a corresponding blessing. The other is to advance. At her level, every frowth is a transformative process that can rebuild one’s entire body. One’s defects will be mended in the process, so the scars could fade away… Hmm, we could also look for grand priests of the Church, but that’s unlikely.”

Richard sighed. Both methods Agamemnon had mentioned would need a long time to accomplish. Talk of blessings was basically building castles in the air, no normal ceremony could be guaranteed to solve that problem. At the very least, he hadn’t seen anything similar in that long list he had seen before, although that meant very little considering just how many blessings the Eternal Dragon could grant. At this point, a ceremony was one’s last bastion of hope for any problem in Norland.

“And what about you yourself?” Nyris shifted the topic, “When will you be back to full strength?”

Richard checked his mana pool for a moment of confirmation, “It’s nothing. The loss wasn’t all that great, so I’ll be back to level 14 in about a month’s time.”

Nyris nodded, seeming to sigh in relief. “Right, I suggest you ask Rosie for some help. Who knows, she might have a solution for you.”

“She can heal Lina?” Richard looked at the prince with ridicule.

“No, but she can at least help console her. A scarred face means very little to us; another woman might have a better perspective on this.”

Richard nodded in agreement, ending the meeting before heading directly to Lina’s residence. Under the effects of medicine and healing spells, she was still in a deep sleep as the corrosive draconic power was slowly removed from her body.

A cleric coincidentally walked out of the room just as he reached it, looking a little tired. “How is she doing?” he asked.

“I already finished her dose of spells for today, my Lord. She is stable, and most of the draconic energy has faded away. She will awaken in another week at most, and her mana pool will be restored not long after.”

Richard nodded and entered the room to find the Dragon Mage asleep on the bed, a slight smile on her lips as she was in the midst of some unknown cheerful dream. Lifting the soft towel that covered the upper half of her face, he revealed only half of her beautiful and charming face. The other half was completely charred. This was the injury left behind by a direct impact from Kaloh’s breath attack. Even the most powerful of divine spells at his disposal could not fully repair the damaged skin on her face.

He sighed silently, gazing on at her many scars. Unlike most of his father’s other subordinates, the Dragon Mage’s toughness was only for show. Her beauty was one of the two great pillars that supported her confidence, so it couldn’t be known how this would affect her.

He then lifted Lina’s blanket and lightly pulled down the clothing at her chest, placing his hand on her rune and carefully sensing its structure. A moment later he sighed in relief, knowing the damage had only been slight and would not affect normal use. He could repair the broken parts himself. This rune that was nearly grade 4 was meant to strengthen the connection between Lina and her red dragon. It established a spatial gate during summoning that allowed Kalot to enter the battlefield. It was the key to much of the Dragon Mage’s strength.

Richard then instructed the maids to take good care of her before returning to his own laboratory. However, what he saw within instantly gave him a headache.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA