Book 1, Chapter 62


Richard left the Deepblue as soon as the calendar flipped to the first day of April, taking all his luggage with him. The spring wasn’t all that cold, and the refreshing winds felt soft and cool when they blew against his body as he headed east, towards the border roads of the Sacred Alliance.

The sideroads to the Everwinter Mountains twisted here to face north, continuing alongside the main road which itself was wide enough for four horse carriages to travel side by side. They headed deep into the Sacred Alliance.

Reining in the warhorse, Richard turned back. Far in the distance the spectacular constructions of the Deepblue had faded out into the indistinct fog, leaving only it’s elegant pointed tip flickering in and out of existence above the clouds and mist. Buried under that thick fog was Floe Bay, whilst the Everwinter Mountains’ snowy peaks penetrated through the mist, standing tall in the sky.

What he’d left behind in the Deepblue was not just five years of his life, but countless precious memories as well as a remaining debt of over twenty million gold coins. He viewed all of Sharon’s Delight as debts, which he would definitely return to the legendary mage in the future. In the last two years, Richard had successfully earned over six million gold coins through selling magic runes to Blackgold and returned part of his ‘debt’. While the grey dwarf had no idea why Richard was so persistent in this, he more than welcomed it, especially when Richard never argued about the huge difference in the selling and buying prices.

Even if there came a day where Richard repaid all of his debts, Sharon’s Delight would forever remain a precious memory to him, worth far beyond just thirty million.

“It’s time to go, Richard,” Mordred’s voice sounded from the front, interrupting the myriad of thoughts running through his mind.

Richard sighed internally and urged the warhorse on, catching up to move alongside Mordred. Mordred gazed at his warhorse and nodded with approval, “That’s a fairly good horse.”

Richard was currently riding a specialty of Floe Bay, an armoured warhorse. This was a species they’d nurtured for over three generations, and they’d dulled the violent streak of its wild cousins without damaging its valiance.

Richard’s horse, however, was obviously much taller and larger than the common armoured warhorse and was only one size smaller than Mordred’s own mount. The horse was clearly feeling uneasy, but under Richard’s control, it managed to move alongside Mordred’s steed. In Mordred’s eyes, any horse that could get close to his ‘Lava’ and not collapse was a good horse. Unlike ordinary warhorses, Lava was carnivorous.

During numerous battles of life and death, Lava had always been the first to seriously injure, kick or even bite the opponent’s mount to death, allowing Mordred to achieve the upper hand and kill the opponent cleanly in one go. Hence, a fair number of powerful magic beasts had fallen under Lava, and like Mordred Lava emanated a bloody aura at all times.

Richard sat comfortably on his horse, seemingly unperturbed by the bloody aura radiating from Mordred. Now a true youth, his body had grown and though a part of him now looked like Gaton, he was more handsome in the same way the silvermoon elves were. Only the constant slight smile, plastered on his face, concealed that his thoughts did not belong to either Elaine nor Gaton.

Mordred looked at Richard’s sharp features through his side profile and smiled in satisfaction. Being able to linger by his side without concern meant that Richard would not make a fool of himself in the bloody battles that were to come.

While studying with Naya, Richard had seen him torture others not just once. Interrogations more bloody and terrifying than the one with Blood Parrot were not few in number. By the third time, Richard no longer needed the wooden bucket and after the fifth, he began to help Naya out. After the eighth time, he’d even possessed enough strength to clean up the kitchen at the back on Naya’s behalf! Compared to the smell from Naya’s kitchen, Richard did not even seem to notice the bloodiness arising from Mordred. Despite this, however, Mordred’s endless bloodlust was something Naya could never match up to.

When he had gone to Rooseland to retrieve Richard and Elaine, Mordred had brought with him a middle-ranked, heavily armoured group of knights along with two light cavalry. Now, five years later when collecting Richard from the Deepblue, he had only brought two knights to accompany them.

Two rune knights, that is. These rank 2 rune knights were only slightly weaker than the entire troop Mordred had brought to Rooseland in the past. Even two brigades would have to spend a lot of time and effort to take them out.

The small group of four people and five mounts slowly travelled further into the boundless land between the mountains and seas, the extra mount carrying the small luggage they had between them.

To be honest, there were many methods of long-distance travel on Norland. With enough money, trained two-legged wyverns and griffins would be a good option to carry people along fixed routes. The physically larger moslan two-headed eagle was also known for its great endurance and ability to fly three thousand kilometres within a day and night. In addition, the dwarves’ famous Floating Vessel was a miracle created by alchemical techniques and contained a very comfortable interior within the flying machine. However, the danger and cost of the products of alchemy were several times higher than taming beasts, rendering this method unfavourable in comparison.

Going along the waters was also a pretty good option if you were unwilling to bear the wind pressure along with the cold and weightless feeling that came with travelling through the skies. This option included large ships powered by magic, which could travel distances over a thousand kilometres everyday along with tamed masha baleen whales’, able to travel about the same distance, but in a bumpier journey.

With the Archeron Family’s current strength and status, Richard would have been able to hire enough griffins to ferry them between the Deepblue and Faust a couple times with the money he had on hand. Only when away from the Deepblue did gold seem to have gold’s worth.

Rather than a journey which could be completed within a week by riding a griffin, Mordred had instead prepared to travel the length via horseback. This way, there would be numerous dangers and the length of the trip would be extended to around a month. In Richard’s perspective this month lost was very precious, and its worth could not be measured through money. He was now very proficient in creating elementary runes, and with arduous study, he could still continue with the practice of creating the most basic elementary agility rune and even create two in one month. Subtracting the costs of the materials, earning a few hundred thousand gold coins would not have been an issue at all.

Hence, Richard had voiced his dissent to Mordred regarding this from the very beginning, but Mordred had said that this was Gaton’s decision.

Faust was over seven thousand kilometres away from the Deepblue as the crow flies, and taking into consideration the limited terrain one could cross on horseback that distance more than doubled to over fifteen thousand. They would have to travel through mountains, forests, rivers, and huge uninhabited areas full of various dangers. They would even have to pass through ten or so territories that belonged to families harboring malicious intent towards the Archerons. In light of this, one could definitely foresee that there would be many battles along the way. Gaton wished for Richard to be trained through constant battles, so he could gain battle experience and learn how to coordinate with rune knights and other heavily armoured melee troops, especially since he knew the boy was a budding mage.

In other words, by the time Richard entered Faust, Gaton hoped that he would already be equipped with some battle experience.

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