Book 4, Chapter 69

Miracles Can Only Be Achieved

Richard suddenly felt the pain fading away from his face only to be replaced by an unbearable itch. The sensation soon spread to the rest of his body, all the other wounds reacting in the same way. It felt as though thousands of ants were crawling in and out of his body, the discomfort growing intolerable. He couldn’t help but reach out to touch his face, instantly discovering that his wounds were squirming endlessly. He was immediately startled.

Richard couldn’t help but grow fidgety, but Mountainsea pinned him down at once, “Don’t move. You’ll recover in a bit, bear with it until then.”

He immediately realised that the itching was a sign of recovery, relaxing his body to avoid wasting his energy. However, he was startled at the sheer speed, as though he was being healed by a grand priest. Even the wounds that wouldn’t normally heal with a regular spell were recovering quickly. “What was that egg?” he asked Mountainsea.

The girl seemed to relax in tandem with him, “A hydra egg. I happened to pass by a nest, so I grabbed one.”

He inhaled sharply at the mere mention of the name of this creature he had only ever read about. Hydras possessed draconic blood, but could not fly like their typical kin. Larger than even true dragons below the legendary realm they were absolute tyrants on the land. Even a red dragon wasn’t their match. And Mountainsea had dared to steal an egg from such a beast! No matter how effortless she made it sound, the process must have been extremely dangerous.

However, it made sense for a hydra egg to possess such power. Richard just sighed speechlessly. He was growing stronger by the day, but the debts he owed were only growing to a point he where he couldn’t repay them at all.

The girl suddenly smiled, leaning in close, “Since we’ve met with great difficulty, a present!”

Uneasiness washed over Richard’s face as his body leaned back by instinct. Nevertheless, he had already resigned himself to what was to come. This was the least he could do for her.

And yet, the gnawing and biting he had expected didn’t come true. Already nestled up against him, Mountainsea just pressed her lips softly onto his before worming her way further into his embrace, saying she was sleepy before she began snoring lightly.

He propped up her neck in his hand, adjusting her so she would be comfortable before settling down himself. His hand started moving slowly as he rubbed through her head just like all those years ago, letting her fall asleep on his legs. He then combed through the braids that were all over her head lightly, touching the shells, bones, and stones as he felt their carefree aura.

The serious bookworm had vanished, and so had the carefree and innocent little girl. However, this one night was just like all those he remembered so fondly in his heart.

……

As much as both youths hoped for that night to last eternally, daybreak still arrived. When the first ray of sunlight shone down upon their bodies, Mountainsea stretched herself lazily like a lion cub that had just woken up, letting out a big yawn before sitting upright. The first thing that came into her view was a face as familiar as her family, and she instinctively took a ruthless bite out of those lips and savoured the taste.

Only then did she fully awake, widening her eyes as she looked around many times before realising this was not the Deepblue. A trace of sorrow flashed in her eyes.

The young girl pulled off the beast-tooth bracelet on Richard’s wrist and added a pure white seashell into it before placing it back on his wrist. She held up an identical twin, “If I have something to tell you, I’ll write it down on this shell and they will appear on the piece with you. They can only be used once, but they’ll reach through no matter what plane you’re on.”

Richard nodded his head, but the bracelet felt heavier than ever before.

“I should go back, the old fellows at the shrine will be restless.” Mountainsea waved a vigorous goodbye, the same way she had a year ago in Norland time.

Richard thought things over for a moment before speaking some words of warning, “Be careful of the people in the Azuresnow Shrine.”

“They surely… alright.”

Just as Mountainsea was about to leave, Richard suddenly called out towards her from behind, “When the day comes, I might not be able to win against you. But I’ll definitely beat the rest of them to the ground!”

The girl turned her head and flashed a radiant smile, making her way into the distance. As her figure disappeared into the horizon, the little braids that still bounced about in his heart slowly gave way to a freezing cold.

Richard Dizmason Archeron sorted his equipment and readjusted to his optimal state before setting off to return. The hydra egg had healed him off all his wounds overnight, eliminating even the fatigue of the blood loss. His left shoulder where Heisa’s death energy-covered foot had stomped him was the only thing still throbbing, but even that pain was dull. If not for such a special kind of wound, the egg that was comparable to advanced healing spells would have restored him completely.

Although mentally prepared for a few more tough battles, he didn’t run into a single enemy on his way back. He returned safely to the Salson island without a hitch.

……

Richard saw a face full of regret on the old Salson’s face as he rushed over on the other side of the portal, “Tch, I couldn’t get those coins for free.”

Richard laughed heartily for a moment, but then he grabbed the man’s shirt collar and spoke fiercely, “You old coot! You knew I was going to go meet Mountainsea long ago, didn’t you!”

“Of course!” the baldy laughed craftily, “How could a family that specialises in commerce between two continents not know Klandor’s princess? I guessed almost the moment you told me about it.”

“And you didn’t tell me!”

A smile arose on the man’s face, “If I had, you might have been scared to go. Now look at you, the gains were pretty good no?”

“That’s not necessarily true,” Richard retorted, but he had to admit that he would likely have waited some more time to go meet Mountainsea if he’d known about the danger earlier. He had barely even escaped the barbarian continent on this trip.

The old man seemed to read Richard’s thoughts, smiling knowingly, “Miracles can only be achieved if you try the impossible. This is just like when nobody thought we would successfully break away from the Millennial Empire. Even I had no confidence back then, but we just had to do it.”

Richard went silent for a moment before smiling himself, “I’ll be using your portals again.”

“Hehe, just give me the free 250,000 coins next time!”

“Dream on, old man!”

A short while later, four griffins flew into the sky from Salson territory and headed straight for Faust. Watching them disappear into the distance, Pipin let out a sigh, “It’s still better to be with the young ones, they’re full of life!”

……

A few days later, four utterly exhausted griffins landed back in Faust on the verge of collapse. Of course, Richard was still full of energy; outside of some numbness in his limbs due to the long periods of time maintaining the same posture, he didn’t feel any fatigue from missing sleep for a few nights in a row. The residual energy of the hydra egg still left warmth flooding every part of his body, fighting the cold winds high in the sky.

As he returned to the family island, he summoned the old steward to ask about the current situation and get reports on the vassals to study carefully when he went away. Noticing Fuschia still absent, he thought for a moment and instructed the steward, “Send Fuschia a letter that I’m going back to the Forest Plane tomorrow, she can come after that instead of trying to hide.”

“Yes, Master,” the old butler answered in agreement.

He suddenly laughed out loud, “She’s still needed here. When she comes back, tell her I won’t visit her room even when I’m here. As long as she hides there whenever I’m around, I’ll act like she doesn’t exist.”

“Rest assured, my Lord. Is there anything I need to do regarding Earl Alice?”

“... Nothing much,” Richard said after some hesitation. He could treat the seven rune sets as a gift to Alice, something to support his cousin in tumultuous times. He wouldn’t bring the matter up until she did.

He started pacing back and forth around the room, thinking hard. “One more thing,” he said eventually, “Announce to the family that we’re enlisting rune knights.”

The old steward was stupefied. “Enlisting rune knights?” he asked for clarification, “What does that mean?”

“Take in the Archeron warriors who qualify to become rune knights, I will provide the runes for them.”

“That… That…” The composure the butler had cultivated over a long time was completely broken. This was something unheard of in the entire Sacred Alliance; rune knights were the core soldiers of every major family. Every single one was hand-selected and trained for a long time. There was no precedent of them being enlisted from the family members at all.

Richard thought deeply for a minute before continuing, “Right, once the criteria for slots, level, and capacity are satisfied, the most important thing should be loyalty. Anyone who wants to become a rune knight needs to sign a slave contract before they get their rune, serving me for twenty years before they regain their freedom. Of course, the runes will be theirs afterwards. As long as the contract is in effect, I won’t treat them any differently from the rest of my knights.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA