Book 4, Chapter 105

Resisting Temptation

As he thought back to their long conversation, Richard’s heart suddenly skipped a beat. Was Ferlyn telling him that there was a cost to the abnormal ceremonies? Was there a price he didn’t know about?

He suddenly fell into thought, pondering the issue for the first time. The Eternal Dragon’s basest principle was equal exchange. If he was being given such good options all the time, what cost did that have?

And who bore that cost?

The priestesses of the Eternal Dragon used the power of time to grow their abilities. This was a power that could only be obtained from divine grace. This was why they cared so much about sacrifices all the time. Flowsand! She was sacrificing the grace she would get!

Richard felt his mind jolt. Memories of Ferlyn asking him to grant her some divine grace flooded into his mind, and his damned blessing of wisdom finally kicked in.

Fortunately, he still planned to make two more sacrifices. This time there was no choice to give her some grace, so he chose to fortify the passage to Faelor again; the cost dropped down to 6,000 gold. This was something even planes that had been governed for ten years in Norland time normally wouldn’t have. Those like the Forest Plane and Rosie Plane had been fortified over centuries, sometimes even millennia to achieve their present cost.

He opened up the chest and heaved the beast head onto the pedestal, chanting the familiar words of the ceremony once more. However, this time he didn’t care for the coordinates of the Rosie Plane. Nobody knew how those coordinates had been erased from the Church, not even the Emperor nor the Church were forthcoming with answers. The chances of finding the coordinates from a ceremony were very bleak as well. Before he had no other priorities, but now he did.

As the timeforce twined around it, the large beast head melted into specks of light that disappeared into the void. A massive surge of power poured down from above, yielding more grace than even the devil skull from Gaton.

This time, a total of five options had appeared for him to choose from. Amongst them were a bloodline ability, further strengthening of the passage to Faelor, and even a strengthening of his body by timeforce. The Distribute Grace blessing was present as well, but what shocked him was the symbol of a small floating cloud!

Anyone who planned to hold high-level sacrificial ceremonies to the Eternal Dragon would know of this mark. It held the coordinates of another foreign plane! This blessing was priceless; even the simplest of elemental planes had great value. Planar coordinates were immeasurably rare in sacrificial ceremonies.

An irresistible temptation flooded his heart, the devil in his soul whispering for him to take the gamble. So long as he managed to get the broodmother and his followers out of Faelor, it would be no issue for him to tear into a foreign plane. A successful expedition would guarantee at least 200,000 gold per month of plane time; if the plane was as fast as the Forest Plane or Faelor, it would be amplified to a great extent!

There were definitely some disadvantages to working on too many planes at the same time. One’s attention would be divided, slowing their progress and leeching their resources until the new planes were stabilised. Gaton was a prime example of this problem; he had to leave five of his thirteen behind to hold onto his many planes because they hadn’t stabilised yet.

However, these coordinates would easily be worth 30 million gold in a transaction; the same as everything in Beye’s chest. He could just sell these coordinates for thrice the returns. Couldn’t he dedicate one of the offerings he received then to Flowsand instead?

By the time he snapped out of it, Richard found his hand only centimetres away from the floating cloud. Even the smartest of people wouldn’t think twice before choosing that option. However, he pulled back his hand like lightning, breaking out into a cold sweat. How long would it take to find three more top-tier offerings? Would the option to distribute his grace even appear then? If he missed the chance this time, would there be another chance?

And what if he was tempted again? Both times now that Ferlyn had made this choice available to him, he had clearly been shown much better options. A sudden determination flowed out from the depths of his soul: he would not fall into this cycle! His hands slowly moved towards the grace distribution.

Only when the timeforce from the blessing flew out into the distance could he heave a sigh of relief, wiping the sweat from his brow. Choosing in these trades certainly wasn’t easy, and the stakes were high. An easy choice only meant the dragon wasn’t offering enough.

Feeling like his will had been reforged, Richard then placed the organ that looked like a heart on the pedestal. This time he was extremely relaxed as he prayed to be able to distribute grace once more.

When the timeforce withered the heart away and revealed his options, he heaved a sigh of relief. As expected, there was no grace distribution option anymore. Had he chosen the coordinates before, Flowsand would have received nothing.

He started browsing through the options he did get, ignoring an additional increase of his lifespan and extra gear. He was about to choose the planar fortification once more, but the sight of two crystals floating within a bubble of light piqued his interest. The light coming from these crystals was bizarre, strangely corporeal like a rainbow river flowing down.

The information about the blessing appeared the moment his gaze landed upon the crystals: Divine Crystals. Can replace any form of divinity and are usable on most planes.

Divinity! Richard was shocked. This meant someone could use these ceremonies to light their godfire! On top of that these crystals were domainless, meaning anyone could use them! They would be of great assistance to one who wanted to become a god.

He inhaled sharply and raised his head, looking into the endless skies above. This was the first time the dragon had garnered respect from the depths of his heart.

Deities were often the highest form of being on any plane, and their godfires were the basis of the godhood that gave them their power. Many nobles on Faelor made their descendants worship them for centuries, even millennia to try and garner enough divinity to light one’s godfire. These crystals that the Dragon basically sold like they were spider crystals could substitute that entire process!

Although he personally didn’t need any divinity right now, Richard did have one specific subordinate who did. He didn’t hesitate to grab the two divinity crystals from the floating cloud, reminding himself to pass them on to the broodmother in the future.

The ceremony thus drew to a close. There was still a holy statue inside the chest, but that would be given to Nyris for the materials he needed to finish Beye’s Lifesbane runes.

However, just as he was about to return, he suddenly remembered the beastsoul necklace he had bought from Pipin. Mountainsea had already told him it was made from the claw of an ancient beast, but although it was a powerful weapon it would drain three to four years of his life for a single blow. Even the barbarians had to use this thing with caution. He couldn’t really sell it either; his loss of three or four years was after the nourishment of the hydra egg; an ordinary powerhouse who needed such a thing would lose at least ten years.

An idea suddenly flashed in his mind, and he placed the useless thing on the pedestal. Golden light immediately shone down from the curtain of timeforce.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo