Book 1, Chapter 57

A Fateful Battle

The competition had finally arrived. The missing legendary mage finally returned to the Deepblue just the night before, allowing the grand mages to heave a sigh of relief that they wouldn’t have to postpone the event. This competition was no doubt one of the most important affairs of the Deepblue in recent times, and as time passed more and more people had started placing bets on the match. Although the competition was of a more personal nature and between Richard and Steven alone, the title of inheritor to Sharon’s runecrafting expertise was enough to attract public attention.

Once she arrived in the Deepblue, the legendary mage immediately called for a meeting with all the grand mages. Her brows were knitted, an obvious indication of her ill mood. This prompted all the grand mages present to sit still, and not engage with her. Sharon waited and waited for her snack to be served. When the dark-skinned slave finally came, she was surprised to see that the golden basin only consisted of a pathetic amount and variety of fruits and her favourites were all missing.

She relaxed her furrowed brows, raising a single one, “What is this? Where are all my fruits?”

Blackgold came around her immediately and muttered, “All sold.”

“Impossible! I had enough stock for half a year!” she raised her voice.

“Mountainsea’s appetite is larger than yours, Master. And she has already been eating them for 3 months now, so… there isn’t much left in the stock now,” Blackgold reported carefully.

“Why is she still here?” Sharon’s voice turned icy-cold. But the gray dwarf was long prepared, as he handed her two receipts, “This is the amount of money we’ve earned just from the fruit sale alone. And this is her overall spending in the Deepblue.”

Sharon’s expression did look a lot better after looking the receipts. Earning money almost always made her happy, even if it was just an extra gold coin, and Blackgold knew that very well. Nonetheless, these earnings did not make her as delighted as expected, and even her hard work out there for these two months did not lift her spirits a bit.

Sharon had actually obtained an Isla diamond in her two months away, something equal to her annual expenses. But that hadn’t brought her happiness either, and the reason was simple: the more she earned, the more she saw the difference between Mountainsea’s wealth and her own.

The sulky legendary mage put down the receipts after praising Blackgold and asked, “How’s the preparation for tomorrow’s battle?”

“All the preparations are done. We were only awaiting Your Excellency.”

“Alright, let’s begin on time. It doesn’t seem like I could get anymore out of Solam either, and I’m excited to see what kind of surprise my little Richard is going to bring me.”

“Your Excellency, should we make any prior preparations?” The gray dwarf asked with precaution.

“Preparations? What preparations?” The legendary mage was slightly flabbergasted. She was already ready to leave as she stood up, but she could tell Blackgold was trying to hint at something and it seemed bizarre. “How can my little Richard lose?”

Blackgold had no choice but to be more straightforward about what he was trying to say, “But the Solam Family is fully supporting Steven. Even if he made his runes himself, the designs come from Saint Klaus. Richard has been exploring things himself, and never asked for any help from either his family or Mountainsea.

“Didn’t Mountainsea give him a piece of fire dragon neck hide?” Sharon asked coldly.

“He stowed that skin away, and did not even touch it,” Blackgold explained.

That made Sharon a little happier, and something like a smile almost immediately spread across her face. She stretched lazily and said, “Don’t worry, Saint Klaus is a piece of trash that only know how to follow rules with no creativity at all. He won’t ever become a proper great runemaster his entire life, and he won’t be able to design anything impressive. I already took him into consideration when I was setting the topic. Even if there were thirty more Saints behind his name he still won’t be able to win with Steven’s abilities.”

Blackgold realised that Sharon knew nothing about Richard’s design, and reminded her again, “But Richard might not be able to win either!”

Sharon was getting annoyed as she waved her hand dismissively and said, “Stop complicating matters! However the competition turns out, just announce Richard as the winner, won’t that do?”

The grey dwarf was stunned upon Sharon’s words, “How do we explain to Solam’s clan then?”

The legendary mage scoffed, “Just say Gaton paid more! If Solam has any dissatisfaction he can go straight to him!’

The grey dwarf’s breath caught in his throat. Before he could even say anything Sharon was already halfway out the door. Judging from her incessant yawns with her fist against her mouth she was likely going to go sleep. Blackgold couldn’t do anything but agree with her for the time being.

The peaceful night passed quickly, the battle set to start at nine the following morning. The venue was a personal experiment arena of Sharon’s, and apart from the participants themselves only she and the other grand mages were present on scene. Mountainsea was seated next to Richard as a supporter of his, with Urazadzu, Steelrock, and her guards behind her.

The Solams had protested against this to Blackgold, saying Mountainsea and other unrelated personnel shouldn’t be present since the battle wasn’t public. They claimed that they wouldn’t know at all if Urazadzu killed Steven’s snow rabbit in the dark.

But those allegations were shot down mercilessly. Blackgold told them that Mountainsea was still a student of Sharon’s, and that they shouldn’t look down on the Deepblue. Even if the Solam Family members present here couldn’t tell, Sharon and the other grand mages present could. The dwarf’s imposing manner left Steven feeling in the wrong.

Besides, Steven and his family wouldn’t have dared to go against even the grey dwarf openly, more so let Mountainsea know about their unhappiness. Both the legendary mage and Mountainsea were considered superior powers, and regardless of the outcome of this battle offending either would affect Duke Solam’s entire life and future. It’d be even more risky now that everyone knew about Mountainsea’s ‘background’.

The entrance of the winter wolf into the arena signified the start of the battle. They’d drawn ballots, and Steven was the first to step up. Walking towards the arena, he solemnly lifted the cloth covering his cage’s entrance and opened the door. Outside stepped the snow rabbit that the Solams and Saint Klaus had poured their blood and sweat into for the past half year.

What shocked everyone was that the snow rabbit was as large as a hunting hound.

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