Book 4, Chapter 154

Don’t Know Who You Are

Richard smiled, “Raymond tried to eradicate me from when I was only fifteen years old. He trapped Marquess Gaton on another plane and brought tens of thousands of soldiers to kill me in mine. Sadly, I was his enemy; he had his army decimated instead. Tell me, why would I let such an opponent die so easily? I’m keeping him around just so he can watch as everyone related to him, his friends, family, and those he cares for, are sent to the abyss.”

Richard’s smile was pure as a crystal, gaze clear and voice pleasant, but the assassin felt her heart tremble from the hatred embedded within those words.

“Then I should kill you now!” the assassin gritted out from between her teeth, but she couldn’t bring herself to unsheathe her dagger.

“No, you should make sure I’m alive and happy. If I’m in a good mood, Raymond won’t suffer as much. Ah, a soul shepherd recently joined my ranks. I hear they’re especially good at interrogations and their control of souls rivals necromancers’. Now, I only give her days off when I’m in a good mood. And if I’m in a bad mood, well… she stays with Raymond a little longer.”

The assassin paled, the hand that was on her dagger’s hilt starting to shake. She understood just what the implications of a soul shepherd’s existence were. Death would not be the end for Raymond; he would likely be turned into an eternal puppet.

Just as she was on the brink of despair, Richard gave her hope once more, “But you’re special. If you really are willing to give everything up, you can change his fate. If I’m happy with you, I’ll let his soul dissipate with his body if I ever die.”

“You’re saying you can let him rest in peace?”

“Yes, but you will have to give up everything. Don’t entertain any delusions; as someone who cares about him, you should know what he has done. There is a price for everything, but you can just help him pay some of it.”

“I… I understand.” The assassin wanted to ask him to promise, but she of all people understood that such a thing was pointless. Powerful lords viewed their reputation above all else.

“That’s great, gorgeous. Look for me once you’ve thought things through.” Richard got off the bed, patted the woman’s face and left the secret room.

“Ahahahaha!” a vulgar laugh sounded outside, “Out so fast, my Lord? That doll really doesn’t look bad, you paid enough to stay another day!”

Richard chuckled at the old dwarf, “I wish. She’s just too lewd, I couldn’t last.”

The old dwarf snickered in response. The assassin went red in an instant, starting to shake with anger. What did he mean by too lewd? This was the first time someone dared to call her that! If it was anyone else, ANYONE else…

At that thought, the woman suddenly recalled that Richard had touched her face before leaving. She had been stiff without reaction, but thinking of it now, where had her instincts gone? Why hadn’t she so much as moved when he touched her? Richard’s movements had been quick yet smooth, so tender and natural it was like a lover caressing her. There was no trace of danger that would leave anyone on guard. However, now that she replayed the scene she realised just how dangerous it had been. His hand could have dealt her a fatal blow at any point.

If it had been a slice instead of a caress… The more she thought about it, the rougher her breathing became. Was… was everything under his control from the start?

Then there was that meaningful look Richard had given her when she was about to bring up her family. He’d acted like he didn’t know her at all, but few children of nobility would be unable to recognise her after seeing her face, especially after she became a saint at such a young age. Even if they had never seen her before, they would have seen portraits at the least. As the ruthless and meticulous family head of the Archerons, how could Richard not know the First Princess?

Then why had he avoided the topic of her identity, even stopping her from bringing it up? The more she thought about it, the colder Reyna felt inside.

……

After leaving the alley, Richard quickly headed towards the target of his trip. The old dwarf’s attitude was as terrible as it was said to be, and he even treated the alcohol his kind were known to love with contempt. Of course, this was because his cellar was piled up with mountains of the best meads available.

However, Richard had dealt with dwarves for a long time now and knew how to handle them better. Taking out a custom trinket made by the dwarves of Faelor and promising to pay in more handiworks from outside Norland, he successfully got the dwarf to agree to his request. The old smith then followed him back to the Archeron island to take a look at the three swords himself before suggesting a solution.

Giving the craftsman some room to study the blades, Richard headed back to his study and had a servant call Fuschia over. Browsing through the pile of documents that had stacked up on his table once more, he asked without so much as looking up, “It’s been a while. So? Has the Earl made up her mind?”

“My Lady… My Lady agrees.”

Having expected to hear bad news, Richard looked up in surprise. However, he paused for a moment as he saw Fuschia’s bowed head and the slight flush on her face. The fear in her eyes as she avoided his gaze was rather confusing; it was almost as though she would be the one becoming his partner instead.

Still, he shook off the annoyance and just sighed deeply. Right now, he was in urgent need of a good administrator to help him manage his tasks. Be it as a partner or an ally Alice would not be a subordinate, but even without putting her own life aside she could still help out.

“Invite her to the island in ten days, then. It’s been a long time since I last saw her, we’ll need to go through the details.”

“… Alright,” Fuschia went even redder.

Richard still had no idea why she was blushing, but he scheduled the meeting and headed out. Ten days in Norland was three months on Faelor, he didn’t have the leisure to just wait so long.

Before returning, he conducted another sacrifice to the Eternal Dragon at the Church. Flowsand was the one who hosted it this time, but he got no special treatment because of her or the Wargod’s Shield that he gave up. In the end, he chose a divinity crystal over two other mildly useful items; with the broodmother around, he could never have enough.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA