Book 5, Chapter 16

Wintry Cruelty

“Leave the auction and convention to me, I’ll get you a host and spread the news,” Agamemnon said with a nod.

Richard smiled, “That’s a relief. Right, why are you still level 17? Becoming a saint shouldn’t be a problem for you.”

It had been a while since they had last met, and Agamemnon was currently taller, darker, and slightly thinner. His body still looked to be made of steel, not extravagant in the slightest but extremely sturdy for what it was. Even so, he was still at level 17.

“Umm… It’s a family secret… Ugh, I was going to tell you anyway. You’ve heard of Philip the First, right? The third generation head of my family? He was one of the most powerful beings in all of Norland during his time, touching upon the laws of the plane. He discovered that the stronger someone was before they took the last step to becoming a saint, the more powerful the saint ability they unlocked was. Ever since then, our family has an additional rule that one should spend a year in a battlefield of despair before becoming a saint if they wish to fight for the inheritance of the family.

“So I’ll be going over in a few days, and it’ll take me a while to return.”

“Oh… Yeah, my professors were telling me to do something similar…”

“Fees, rune knight.” Agamemnon immediately returned to his taciturn self. He had only given background to his explanation so as to make it as clear as possible.

“Why not ten?” Richard asked seriously. He knew that this information wasn’t as casual as Agamemnon had made it out to be. It was likely one of the most important secrets of the Orleans Family. Philip Orleans the First was a mythical figure who wasn’t just any other legendary being; this was someone who had gone down in history for their sheer power alone. This information was also more concrete than what he had learnt in the Deepblue. While Sharon had done something similar, the legendary mage’s existence was almost a law unto itself. She was completely different from those who had to actually comprehend the laws of the world.

Agamemnon laughed, bumping his fist into Richard’s chest, “Sure, but not now. I’ll get them if I return.”

When you return,” Richard chuckled, “But don’t forget to make a prayer to the God of Luck before leaving.”

“My family has its own beliefs,” Agamemnon mentioned mysteriously.

“That works. I’m thinking of going over there sometime soon myself, but I don’t know whether I should.”

“You have to!”

“Why?” Richard’s brows furrowed. He knew Agamemnon couldn’t afford to tell him every family secret, but he really was confused over his future path.

“It’s only places like the battlefields of despair that one can unlock all their potential,” Agamemnon stared at him seriously, “People like you and me look pretty powerful on the surface, but at our core we are no different from ordinary people. The true powerhouses of our generation have already stepped out of the boundaries of Norland to explore the myriad planes themselves, we have to squeeze out every last bit of our potential to catch up to their footsteps.”

Richard kept silent for a moment before laughing, “You have so many things to say today. Who are you and what have you done with Ag?”

“Sigh. I might not be able to speak anymore in the future, so I’m just finishing everything I have to say.”

“Your family’s heirs aren’t ordinary, right? Are the chances of death that high? If you’re anything like Beye, it shouldn’t be a worry.”

“Don’t compare me to that freak. Beye is a freak. As for the death rate of the possible heirs…” Agamemnon paused for a moment, “it’s about 50%.”

“You… You guys are really crazy.”

“Says the Archeron,” Agamemnon chuckled.

“At least let me create a set for you before you go!” Richard offered.

However, Agamemnon rejected him, “I need to strengthen my bloodline in the Battlefield of Despair. I can’t do that if I’m using runes and powerful equipment.”

These words reminded him of how Beye had forced him to only use steel daggers during their first journey to the Land of Dusk. Indeed, anyone able to survive such a bitter environment was destined to become a formidable expert one day. He didn’t press on any further.

“Okay then, be careful!”

“I won’t die.”

The two youths shared a strong hug before parting ways. Richard watched on as Agamemnon’s figure faded into the distant horizon before leaving himself.

……

Faust grew even more chaotic over the next three days. The news of a new rune convention had shocked the city once again, this time more because of its presenter than its contents. Most people had known of the pearl of the Mensa Family for a long time, and many youths had been smitten by this perfect princess of Faust. Everyone had found Richard’s bet with the Mensas to be shameful for her, but nobody had guessed that only a few months later she would return to the limelight as a runemaster!

Hidden deep underground in the Mensa island was a secret dungeon. Inhuman screams were ringing out from within, so pained they would send shivers down one’s spine. A middle-aged man had been hung up on a rack in the torture room, completely naked while multiple torturers in black clothing worked on him. The man had long since cried himself hoarse, bleeding everywhere on his body, but magic kept him both alive and awake. There was no respite from the unending pain.

More than ten people were observing the torture from one corner of the room, five of whom were seated. Duke Mensa was right in the middle, his face as gloomy as Floe Bay in winter. The wine swirling in his glass was so dense it seemed like fresh blood, and he didn’t so much as blink at the inhumane treatment of the prisoner. Most others watched on keenly, and those with sympathy written all over their faces didn’t dare to turn away either.

Mensa gulped down all of the wine within his glass in one go before signalling for the torturers to stop. The cleric waiting nearby immediately let loose a flurry of spells that healed the man to a state where he would be able to answer questions.

“Do you recall now?” the Duke asked him, “When did Rosie start showing talent and interest in runecrafting?”

“I… really don’t… know!” the middle-aged man replied in a hoarse voice, “She… went and read… those things herself… They were all… magic books… No runecrafting!”

“So you were her teacher in magic for seven years and you didn’t realise she had the gift to become a runemaster?” Mensa ridiculed him coldly, “This will be your last chance.”

“I… I…” The mage’s body started to tremble with horror. He knew anything he said at this point was meaningless; this cruel maniac would never let him go. All the Duke wanted was a target for his rage.

Mensa’s fingers gradually loosened their grip on the wineglass, causing it to fall to the ground and shatter. Everyone felt like the broken glass was cutting into their hearts as he barked out an order, “Keep him crying like this. Don’t let him die before the seven days are up!”\

Even the torturers and cleric showed a troubled expression. It was one thing to keep the man alive for seven days, but keeping his vocal cords intact was an entirely different story. However, they didn’t dare to add on to the Duke’s anger right now so they firmly nodded their heads.

“You lot!” Mensa turned to the others, “Follow me to the convention tomorrow! I want to see what that little slut can make, and who would dare to buy her runes!”

Everyone silently followed him out of the torture room.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Karen

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA