Book 1, Chapter 67

City of Legends

Even without looking up at the miraculous sky, the ground of Faust was a sight that was equally vast to behold. Buildings of different styles dotted the landscape as far as the eyes could see, some with round roofs and others pointed; some with curtain walls adorned with colourful tinted glass and huge french windows… Winding hallways were aplenty, and impossible to count. Passing through an intersection, Richard even saw a triforium covering the entire block. Fountains and modest plazas of all varieties were scattered all over the place, each decorated in a unique manner. Essential ornaments like columns, banisters, carved statues, porcelain, and murals of embedded mosaic were everywhere, but never once repeated.

Bathed in pale gold light, the entire city seemed to be frozen into the most beautiful dusk. Even the pedestrians passing through the streets were dressed immaculately, behaving with grace that befitted the style of the city.

However, Richard saw a completely different sort of perfection, one that ignored the awnings, the promotional tricks, the badges and emblems, the bonsai, and all other man-made tricks. No, the city itself was perfect. Be it material, colour, shape, or style, all the roads and even small city creations like fountains and plazas displayed a peculiar type of precise harmony; one that made them seem complete and inseparable, as though they were all an integral whole designed and built at the same time without a single bit of modification. For a city of such a large scale, it was rather inconceivable.

The main road of the city was a simple example, a long boulevard that he was following Mordred through. Other than the fact that every stone on the path had a unique pattern on it, everything was the same. It was like everything had been extracted from the same huge piece of rock.

The boulevard itself was a gentle upward slope, and the further up one went the more secluded and quiet it got. The massive trees lining the boulevard were so huge that their treetops nearly covered the entire sky, branches drooping down with strings of unripe fruit that were a full shade of red. The wide and plump branches and leaves swayed in the breeze.

Richard observed the trees along the path attentively— even though he could not name them, he could tell from their features that the natural habitat of such trees should be in the south where the climate was more tropical, not here in the northern highlands where it was dry and cold.

The weather of the Eternal Plains seemed unable to penetrate Faust’s front gate. All year round, regardless of what season it was in the outside world, the city of legends remained warm and damp with little changes, which was the main reason for the abundance of tall, shady trees, clear streams, and pretty fountains.

A magnificent shrine entered Richard’s view as they approached the end of the road. Standing at seven stories tall, it was accessible from sixty seven paths that surrounded it from all directions, each slightly narrower than the long boulevard. The square in front of the temple was filled with vehicles of all types, as well as stops for griffins, wyverns, and morsehill hawks. Robed in coats embroidered with the crests of various houses, groups of slaves moved heavy goods in and out of the stations without rest. There were occasional griffin packs descending together, dropping off well-dressed aristocrats.

Twelve metres tall and ten metres wide, the main gate of the temple was big enough for three large carriages to pass through simultaneously. Right atop the gate sat a crest in the shape of an hourglass, the sacred symbol of the Eternal Dragon. Richard was greeted by a large main hall upon entering, with seven exits and a winding hallway that led upwards.

Richard followed Mordred through the third exit from the left, into a slightly smaller hall. Smaller was relative— this hall was still several hundred square metres in size, able to hold the largest of cargo chariots. There was a magic formation at the end of the hall, with two clean and unique-looking magic puppets crouched by the side. A beam of light occasionally shot out of their chests, melting a small piece of magic metal that they then beat into shape.

Mordred pointed at the two magic puppets, commenting, “They’re prophets of the Eternal Dragon. Honestly speaking, nobody knows where they come from; they were already here when humans first discovered Faust and settled down in it. You can see them in every part of Faust related to magic. They automatically restore damaged magic formations and repair roads and shrines. They’re just like worker bees.”

After staring at the two magic puppets for a while, Richard asked, “They seem rather strange, and different from what I have learnt about magic puppets. What powers their movement?”

Mordred shrugged his shoulders. “Probably some sort of magic force that we are not aware of as yet. In any case, when these fellows run out of power, they run to the Church of the Eternal Dragon and stay there for the night, after which they can be active for a couple of months. Isn’t it fascinating? People just started viewing them as servants of the Eternal Dragon as time passed, showing them great respect and reverence. Without them, Faust probably would have ceased to exist a long time ago. At least up till now, the smiths of mankind are still unable to fix anything in this city.

“But, Little Richard,” he added, “Nobody has been able to find out what these puppets are made of yet. A family secretly captured these puppets in the past to analyse them, but that angered the Eternal Dragon. That very night their island was rocked by a volcanic eruption, a hurricane, a tsunami, and a thunderstorm. It was as if the very end of the world had arrived, and eventually only a few people managed to escape and survive. Since then, no one has dared to disturb the magic puppets.”

Richard immediately caught onto the main point, asking, “So you mean Faust originally existed since a long time ago, and all we did was discover the place and occupy the city? Is that it?”

“Of course. Building a city of this scale with our current strength would only be a miracle!” Mordred sighed ruefully. Evidently such miracles could subdue even a bloodthirsty and murderous knight like him. Patting Richard’s shoulder, he commented, “The reason so many great families, including your father, are so eager to establish a presence in Faust at any cost is for the Church of the Eternal Dragon. Offering sacrifices to the esteemed Eternal Dragon in the church gives them a chance to have the dragon’s grace bestowed upon them. Blessings of all aspects are included, though the most valuable blessing among all would be one related to the flow of time. Whatever happens, though, eventually depends on luck. The offering of sacrifices is the biggest privilege of the royal family and the fourteen aristocrats families.”

Mordred had already brought Lava along as he spoke, stepping into the teleportation formation. The teleportation formation started to radiate a brilliant turquoise light, as a thin curtain of light rose from the ground and surround the two of them. Richard only felt a faint dizziness before everything was covered by a screen of rainbow light.

They reappeared at a small plaza, only a few thousand metres in size but separated from other areas with some low railings. A short distance behind Richard was the edge of the island, and he could even see some scattered rocks floating independently in mid-air, tumbling around and orbiting the island they were on.

A pier— tens of metres long and radiating a metallic luster— extended to the west of the plaza, the bulk of it off the island. That was the runway for the griffins and wyverns to take off and land. A row of storehouses sat right at the end, with the nests of the griffins and wyverns occupying the left and right of the runway respectively.

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