In The Spotlight
Richard’s convention was held in a small hall in Faust. The place could barely house a hundred people, but he felt that the number was appropriate and the place was quiet as a bonus.
Of course, he’d grossly underestimated the number of guests that would be arriving. The place was filled only a few minutes after it opened, even the extra chairs pulled in at the last minute unable to fit everyone. Most families had sent multiple representatives to this convention, including heirs and branch family leaders. The royal family was even more preposterous, sending four princes, two princesses, and over ten others in charge of various court affairs. The Emperor didn’t show up personally, but the presence of his direct aide meant that he was watching as well.
The Church of the Eternal Dragon had sent two grand priestesses and the vice-captain of their paladins. Those who truly understood the functioning of the Church would know that this vice-captain was Ferdinand, Ferlyn’s heavenly guardian. This meant the high priestess was watching as well.
With the number of excess people present, guards, servants, and even lower-ranked family members had been forced to give up their seats. Most had been shooed outside, forced to wait for further news. Foster himself had lost his seat, but fortunately he had enough status for the guards to let him stand behind Lunor. However, this incident only intensified his hatred for Richard.
Richard arrived right as the clock hit a quarter past ten. He omitted any superfluous introductions and welcome speeches, instead directly delving into the highlight of the convention, “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for announcing a convention at the last minute. I will only be showcasing a single grade 3 rune, but this rune already has an owner so there will be no sales conducted. However, four lucky members of the audience will be given samples of mounts I plan to sell in the near future, so do look forward to that.
“Alright then, let me introduce this rune to everyone.” The projection device was activated, showing a zoomed-in image of the rune to everyone present. The design was evidently very complicated, but there was no name nor explanation as to its abilities. The hologram only showed its shape.
The first thing everyone noticed was the suffocating aura even though this was only a projection. The powerhouses in the audience immediately felt a trace of danger, their breaths speeding up. Very few non-runemasters ever gathered enough knowledge to discern what a rune could do at sight. However, the very fact that just a projection of this rune held killing intent proved one thing: this rune had soul!
It was very difficult for a rune design or projection to be able to recreate even a tiny portion of its aura. Such runes were crafted so perfectly, their design so overbearing that their power stood out even before they were crafted. This was normally the domain of runes that were grade 4 or beyond; for a mere grade 3 rune to possess such power meant this piece was far more formidable than they had expected.
Those present had to admit: a rune with such low capacity and level requirements that possessed a soul truly was worthy of a convention all top itself.
Even as the people present were holding their breath to wait for Richard to name and explain the rune, Lunor turned so pale one could mistake him for an undead. His hands trembled uncontrollably as an air of depression covered his body.
Foster was completely shocked. Control was the basis of a runemaster’s ability, especially with the hands. For his master’s hands to be shaking… The youth suddenly felt extremely uneasy, a seed of fear rooting itself into his heart.
“This rune is called Lifesbane,” Richard’s voice as calm as the sea, but the audience immediately erupted. Surprise, fright, and doubts suddenly filled the hall, no weaker than the roars of Tiramisu.
Several powerhouses stood up immediately, completely disregarding their status as one of them shouted, “Lifesbane the stacking rune?”
Lifesbane was a divine weapon to every powerhouse that had the carrying capacity to wield it. However, the difficulty of crafting this rune exceeded even most grade 4 runes, and the ability to layer multiple of it on top of each other meant there was almost never any on the market. Those present couldn’t recall ever seeing one in an auction; such runes were normally called for long before they were crafted.
It took every last whit of self-control these powerhouses could muster to stop themselves from rushing over the moment Richard nodded.
The reveal of this rune was so dazzling it cast a shadow over the mounts that Richard had wanted to display as well. He gave a total of five away for free, one to the royal family and four others to random members of the audience, setting a price of 100,000 gold for every one after that. Nobody knew whether it was intentional, but the Josephs had gotten one of these free mounts as well. After selling off the remaining five mounts, he concluded the event.
As he announced the end of the convention, many people rushed over to him as though to eat him alive. Richard was shocked at the scene; he’d known Lifesbane would cause a commotion, but hadn’t expected it to be so great. Of course, had he known that this was a rune even saint runemasters couldn’t guarantee being able to create, he would have thought of another way to present this. Even the grand runemasters of the other two empires could only rely on a large amount of materials and some luck to craft it.
The behaviour of these powerhouses startled Richard greatly, making him regret the way he had handled the reveal. Thankfully many of those he was on good terms with here. Even with Fuschia continuing to hide away on the island like a mouse, Nyris, Agamemnon, and those of the church would be able to keep him safe.
“Sir Richard,” a shrill voice suddenly pierced through the clamour, “the Emperor wishes to see you.”
The voice of the imperial aide immediately calmed down those present, but before Richard could even reply Noelene spoke up as well, “After meeting His Majesty, do make sure to come down to the Church as well. The High Priestess needs to speak with you.”
With both the royal family and the Church making subtle points, those that had started to think of robbing Richard began to dispel that notion. Bloodthirsty Philip was a figure feared by many already, and the Church of the Eternal Dragon was even more of a massive figure in these nobles’ lives. High Priestess Ferlyn’s control of spacetime would easily reveal the perpetrators of such a crime, and being barred from making sacrifices was a death sentence for any family.
However, it wouldn’t have been long before these agitated nobles realised that robbing Richard was a lousy plan anyway. A single rune would eventually deteriorate, and not just anybody could fix such a special piece. Everyone immediately started thinking up ways to trade for one of these runes.
Since it was approaching noon, the meeting was naturally held at the dining hall. This was Richard’s second time being granted the honour to dine with the Emperor, but this time he realised there was much more material value to this one than the last. The table was lined with many foods that could not be found on the open market, dragon meat being an essential part of the main course while there were many others that even his knowledge from the Deepblue was useless in identifying. Be it the meats, fruits, desserts, or even the drink, everything he swallowed dissolved into a fire in his stomach that radiated energy to the rest of his body.
It had been a long time since he’d had such a good meal; outside of the hydra egg from Mountainsea, he hadn’t eaten so heartily ever since he’d left Sharon’s care.
This time Philip didn’t eat as fast as before, instead having his attendants fill up Richard’s plate constantly. He nodded at the astonishing appetite Richard displayed, “Not bad, you should have a great future ahead. You’re Sharon’s student, aren’t you? Sigh, it’s been ten years since your teacher and I last shared a meal.”
Richard didn’t have Nyris’ ability to talk while eating, so he hurried to swallow down the food in his mouth before putting down the fork. However, Philip waved his hand, “No, no, eat your food. I’m an old man these days, I just like to murmur to myself.”
What followed was a meal where the Emperor recounted stories of his youth. High Priestess Ferlyn featured in them, as did Sharon. Some of the more recent tales even included Gaton and other names he was familiar with, like Duke Mensa.
Richard tried his best to eat as he listened to it all. Even as he was starting to feel bloated, the aide who had thick makeup on continued to fill up his plate at just the limit of his eating speed. Thankfully his physique had improved ever since he ate the hydra egg, and his appetite had grown alongside it. Although it would take some time to absorb all the energy he was ingesting, his capacity at least merited praise.
Still, even the fight with Balibali hadn’t left him so exhausted. By the time the lunch came to an end, it felt as though he had swallowed a dragon whole. The energy within him was searing his insides, leaving him so uncomfortable he couldn’t even speak. He could barely make out something Philip was saying about a hundred mounts before his face planted into the table and he started snoring.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo