A Nightmare Come True
Richard went silent for a while, allowing the broodmother to mull over the obvious lie until she corrected herself, “Alright, I likely need much more than a few drops, but having him beside me for a month should be enough. As long as I can absorb some of his blood every day, I can analyse about a tenth of his powers. That should be enough for me to advance to level 9, I can perform further analysis when I reach level 10.”
“Sigh. No killing him, no weakening him permanently. Got it?”
“Of course, Master,” she agreed.
“Alright, send a cloned brain to come fetch him.”
Zangru had already agreed to this condition, so he just shrugged his shoulders when Richard notified him, “It’s just blood, she can take it. Have the cloned brain or whatever come where I am, I’m actually interested in seeing your trump card. Let’s see just how terrifying the Beetle Queen really is.”
Zangru thus left the city to stay away from prying eyes. With him being a soulguard just like Waterflower now, Richard found it easy to relay his location to the broodmother so she could pick him up. A small dot on the horizon quickly grew into a giant bug-like creature that elicited a playful smile from the divine child, “Interesting. So this is the famous Beetle Queen? Hmm, I’ve seen this race in my dreams before… What is it? Shit, my memory is so bad these days…”
The cloned brain was indifferent to Zangru’s murmurs, just grabbing him off the ground before flying towards the sky. Zangru was like a small puppet being dragged into the air, letting it fly him to his destination as he continued to mutter curiously, “That’s right, it’s a scary race! Their queen can grow up to fifty metres long. Richard is connected to such a thing? Interesting. Maybe there’s a chance for me to see a full-sized one…”
The cloned brain flew very fast. In only a few hours it had reached the depths of the Land of Turmoil, dropping Zangru into a thick fog that was centred around the worm nest. Even though he was thrown down from a few metres in the sky, Zangru landed perfectly on his feet.
He realised the surrounding fog was unusually thick; as he stretched his hand and waved, he could feel the moisture stick to his skin. It almost felt like stirring his hands in water. The fog also served to block his perception to a mere ten-metre range, but he wasn’t too worried. Although it was slightly different, he sensed a soul quite like Richard’s nearby. He thus stood and waited for this new creature to show itself.
One minute, two minutes, five minutes… Zangru suddenly felt his body go limp, head starting to spin as he lost control of his limbs. “Poison!” he fumed, but it was far too late to do everything. However, he was more confused than scared; he was immune to almost every kind of poison, how was he affected in such a short span of time?
Zangru didn’t know that the broodmother had already performed a cursory analysis on the few drops of blood that Phaser had brought back. Just like Nyra, she had realised that putting some divine power into her fog would almost instantly cripple him. It wasn’t enough to kill, but his defences would be greatly weakened. He found himself growing anxious. He wasn’t afraid of death, but facing an unknown threat was never a good feeling.
A violent wind suddenly blew in his face, parting the fog just enough for the large body of the broodmother to crawl through. “B-Beetle Queen!” he cried out in horror, realising just how badly he had underestimated her size.
The vague memories from his dreams suddenly grew clear. His fearlessness crumbled away as he quickly realised that this creature he had dreamt about could kill him, could truly kill him! He wanted to run, but he was already on the floor without the ability to move.
“No need to be afraid,” a cold voice sounded within his mind, “I want to eat you up, but I won’t. I only need some of your blood, this should be considered nothing. I promised Master that I wouldn’t hurt you beyond repair, these… underhanded methods were only to ensure your cooperation. Enough talk, let us begin! Master only gave me a month with you, there isn’t too much time.”
“NOO—” Zangru’s scream was muffled as more than a dozen tentacles flew out from the middle of the fog, dragging him into one of the worm nest chambers as the broodmother approached. Many more tentacles shot out of her mouth, but these ones were hollow.
Looking at those sharp-tipped tentacles as thick as a thumb each, Zangru tried to scream once more.
“What’s wrong?” a voice rang in the minds of the two. Zangru’s fear had grown so intense it startled Richard who was still in Bluewater.
The broodmother mind flayed Zangru unconscious, “It’s nothing, master, he is only afraid of having his blood drawn. It will not be an issue, he will be able to revive even if he is drained completely.”
“Why would he be scared of losing blood, though?”
“Extreme characters have extreme flaws. This seems to be his,” the broodmother replied calmly.
“Suuure…” Richard then cut off communications.
The broodmother then relaxed, her mouth-tentacles wrapping around Zanhru’s body and piercing into his bloodstream. They then started to pulse regularly as they drew out the purplish-black blood into her body. In only five minutes, she had sucked him dry.
Zangru’s body started to shrivel at a noticeable rate, but the tentacles holding him started to pump his body full of nutrients. His amazing physique showed itself as he absorbed all of the nutrition greedily.
He was conscious within half an hour, no obvious injuries to be seen. However, the minute he opened his eyes the broodmother started drawing his blood again. Within a few minutes, he was shrivelled up once more.
This cycle would repeat itself for an entire month…
Richard didn’t know anything about this. He gave himself three months to work on more rune sets, using all of his free time to grow his power through meditation. With the ten rune knights he had to return to Nyris and Agamemnon, he would only be left with a little over twenty himself. With Rosie working to help him make the basic cores, he could use his spare time to meditate while still having a decent progress rate of about six sets a month.
A month later, one of the broodmother’s drones dropped Zangru back. He was quieter than he had been before, but with him being the outsider nobody noticed it at all. Even Tiramisu had only talked to him a little, but the ogre was busy managing affairs so they didn’t have the time to meet.
Richard himself was too busy to notice the difference. What he did notice was that the broodmother had analysed Zangru enough to reach level 9. She wasn’t there yet, there were other requirements to meet, but the path was wide open.
By the time the three months drew to a close, Richard had reached level 17. On top of that, he could have up to 40 rune knights so long as he was willing. One afternoon, the alarm from his magical clock caused him to look up and spot the snow outside the window. Faelor was already in winter, the time had come.
He walked out of his laboratory and called out to his followers, a summoning bell quickly ringing throughout Bluewater City. The subordinates who were appreciating the rare sight of snow in the Bloodstained Lands heard the call to duty and rushed to Richard’s residence.
The followers packed the entire meeting room on the second floor, Tiramisu stood outside with his two heads peeking through the window.
Richard called over a rune knight and handed him a letter sealed with his personal crest, “Head to Norland right now and hand this letter over to the Fourth Prince.”
Once the knight left, he then turned to the crowd, “Pack your bags. We’re going to the Forest Plane for a huge battle. We win and everyone benefits… Oh, Zendrall, Zangru, stay and defend Bluewater. That place isn’t very good for the two of you.”
Just recalling the discomfort he felt in the Forest Plane, Zendrall nodded his head eagerly. On the other hand, Zangru just grunted an affirmative with his head bowed. This new soulguard had been quick to act on orders over the past few days, but he had dulled immensely.
The meeting ended quickly and the followers dispersed. With only a day to prepare, they went to their residences to pack and found people to hand their duties down to.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: ML
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA