A Conflict Worth Millions
The meal ended up being pleasant for both guest and host. Each had gotten something out of the deal, and they had formed the beginnings of a good business relationship. Richard left the restaurant and wandered back into Faust, heading for the Copper Workshop in the crafting district. The place was famed for the old dwarf that worked there, someone skilled enough to make epic-grade equipment at will. That came with its eccentricities— he didn’t take any orders from people he didn’t like— but people still went in and out his door every day.
Richard had no need for epic-grade equipment right now, but the problem with his swords was getting out of hand. His second mind had already worked in all three blades into his fighting style, but having to carry three weapons everywhere he went was a considerable problem. He was hoping the dwarf would be able to come up with a solution.
The crafting district was covered in spatial enchantments that isolated each of the individual workshops, dimming the sound and smoke of the smiths at work. A dozen metallic discs were constantly flying through the sky, attaching themselves to the vents of the workshops to siphon out the smoke before transporting it outside the city.
There were ten forges of varying sizes within this district, drawing their energy from ports in the earth that fuelled searing flames capable of melting almost anything. These ports had existed from before Faust had been discovered and their precise working wasn’t understood yet by the Sacred Alliance, but the grand mages had managed to set up formations to harness this energy into pure mana flames that were useful to the grand smiths that had set up their workshops here.
The royal family was worried these energy ports weren’t endless, so there was a limited number of these ports opened up for use and each activation carried a hefty price tag. While this made it so only grandmasters could set up within the city permanently, most true mastersmiths chose not to do so. Pure magic flames were good to work on normal items, but they didn’t have the soul of abyssal flames or necrotic flames that would imbue their craft with the last bit of power it needed to reach the legendary realm.
Quite contrary to the colourful scenes of the rest of Faust, the crafting district was a world of grey. The buildings were made of steel reinforced by magic arrays in case of explosions, and the mechanisms to reduce the smoke output weren’t 100% effective. Dust flew around everywhere, shrouding the place in a dull fog.
The district had its own inns, bars, and taverns where its denizens mingled. The dwarves and gnomes that made up half of the population here were tied together by their anvils and were normally separate from the rest of Faust. One could even see the occasional orc or ogre walking around and interacted as equals with the rest; this was a world where one’s status was only determined by their craft.
Gnomes and dwarves constantly rushed around carrying lumps of ore larger than their entire bodies, clearly at least at the saint realm. However, this came as no surprise; this was Faust, after all.
Richard spent some time exploring the area. Although he had been interested in this place for quite some time, he had never come here before. All the ruckus, smoke, and dust was the perfect cover for an assassin to go undetected in, and until now he hadn’t been confident enough to take that risk. Sure, the assassin and everyone connected to them would be killed, but what use was that? Of course, now things were entirely different. He only had the dagger portion of Carnage on hand right now, but he was still confident in walking through the place at ease. Just like Beye had once taught him on his first trip to the Land of Dusk, a dagger was enough to carve any enemies apart.
Richard rather enjoyed this blazing impatience. The clamour here was full of a liveliness that left his blood pumping faster than normal. However, he suddenly halted his footsteps and his hands went slack, body growing as relaxed as could be.
“Didn’t think your senses would be so sharp!” a soft voice rang in his ear, but the bloodlust he had felt did not fade, “Now, keep being smart and do as I say. Try anything funny and I’ll take your life immediately.”
Richard immediately relaxed at the so-called assassin’s words. It was quite obvious that whoever this would-be killer of his was, she definitely wasn’t experienced. Which seasoned assassin started giving out orders so confidently without even confirming that the target didn’t have the ability to fight back? Someone like Beye would have been able to control him with just the power of her aura.
“Turn right!” the voice sounded as they passed by a small alley, and Richard entered immediately. This valley seemed to be a quiet place from the outside, but the haphazard buildings turned out to be much more raunchy than the assassin had expected. There were brothels and bars everywhere, the high wall at the end blocking one’s sight except for a single tall chimney chugging tiny bits of smoke.
There were drunk people lying everywhere on the road, with many scantily clad women of different races stroking their hair seductively. The bloodlust started to be laced with a bit of confusion, so Richard took the chance to head further into the alley.
“Where are you going?!” the assassin suddenly hissed.
“Just looking for somewhere we can discuss matters,” Richard said with a smile.
“How would there be such a place here?” the voice was starting to grow flustered.
“You’ll find the most lively places tend to have some quiet, secret holes,” Richard continued forward, finding the most popular bar at the place and heading in.
“But… Wait!” The woman gritted her teeth but followed him in.
The bar was extremely rowdy, the scents of alcohol, sweat, and other fluids thick in the air. People of various races and genders were mixed in together, grinding against each other constantly.
“Make way,” Richard worked his way through the crowd, heading straight for the counter. Shoving those blocking the path out of the way.
The assassin had clearly never seen something like this. The sheer scale of what was basically an orgy confused her to the point that she subconsciously stuck closer to Richard, bumping into him.
“Careful,” Richard warned her kindly.
“How could anything happen to me here!” The assassin sounded rather fierce, but she was evidently shaking a little.
At that moment, a hairy arm as thick as Richard’s thigh stretched over and grabbed Richard’s shoulder. A fierce-looking tanned face appeared in front of Richard, “Oi kid, what do ya think ya are? This ain’t no place for— AAH!”
Richard’s fist sunk into the man’s thick belly. It didn’t break skin even as his forearm followed, but the man’s expression froze and his eyes and mouth bulged like he would vomit before he collapsed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA