Earth-shattering cries were ringing throughout a world of dark purple. Tens of thousands of figures of various forms ranging from a metre tall to more than a thousand were floating in the purple sky, staring down at the crystal mountain below. They seemed to come from various different factions, gathered in groups of about a hundred each.
Desperate battles were playing out atop the mountain peak, purple blood forming puddles of luminescent blood. The number of survivors on this battlefield of life and death slowly dwindled as they approached the summit while fighting off their peers, time seeming to slow down with each kill.
Eventually, a humanoid youth with dark blue hair and eyes began the final battle with a gigantic demonic creature right at the top. An ear-splitting cry rang out as numerous lines on his naked torso lit up in resplendent colours, forming an illusory spear around one of his hands as he stabbed right into his opponent’s chest.
Many people were left breathless at the sight, some for the beauty and some for the spectacle. The youth raised both arms as he stepped onto the pinnacle, the only survivor of this battle and the most dazzling star amongst his peers.
Those above started discussing the existence of a great mage by the name of Richard who could craft powerful runes for those not of human descent. There hadn’t been many runemasters in the history of Norland who could do this, and right now less than ten were still alive.
The news thus spread far and wide.
Richard had no knowledge of such events. Once he’d given the Lance of Broken Stars to Nezha, he took the offering she paid him with to the Church of the Eternal Dragon and conducted a ceremony.
“Mortal, how do you want to allocate the blessings amongst your family and yourself?” Having conducted more sacrifices to the old dragon than most nobles would in their lifetimes, he now knew these words down to the most subtle of intonations. They made him recall the first ceremony he had ever performed, when Mordred and Gaton had been waiting for him outside the screen of light.
The voice boomed in his head once more, making him snap out of his reverie. Richard raised his head slightly, “Everything to the island.”
Faust trembled once more, the sky turning dark as the Archeron island absorbed pure elemental mana from the air to create new dry land. It slowly broke away from its original path, beginning to leap forward. However, this time it wasn’t only one level of difference. It instead broke out of its entire level, floating up in the direction of island 6-6.
The Joseph Family’s island boomed as well, trembling as it descended to the earth. The edges of the land crumbled away, but there wasn’t much of importance present there.
Instead, it was the Mensa island that was now consumed by a cacophony of screams. Mournful wails rang out as the earth below the family castle broke away, causing the stone structure to break apart and collapse. Many of the powerhouses had flown into the sky, but they could do nothing to stop this disaster. A third of the castle slowly broke off and fell down, the debris being transmitted to an unknown space.
The Mensas had only lost a single place in their own level. Although the floating islands were very small, normally only the peripheral buildings would suffer any damage. However, the Mensas had been far too proud. While they were not qualified to enter the sixth layer of islands, they were absolute hegemons of the seventh. They had thus used up their island’s space to the maximum, constructing the castle at the very edge. Duke Mensa himself liked watching the resplendent sights of Faust down below as he pondered the political situation of all of Norland.
Three figures flew out from the falling castle. With the help of two saint guards, Duke Mensa had narrowly escaped the fate of death. The old man almost fainted at the sight. He finally understood what Richard had meant when speaking about his castle. So he had wanted to break his castle apart, and this was a method that couldn’t even be opposed!
The Archerons’ rise in level alongside their newfound wealth became the word of the town once more. The Mensas’ misfortune would only serve as a backdrop to Richard’s glory, and the broken reputation would take several decades to fix if it was even possible. However, Richard had gone straight to Faelor after finishing the ceremony, spending a month there before returning to Norland for an appointment.
Richard was now an extremely important person in Faust, with many waiting in line for just a chance to meet him. His daily schedule was thus planned far in advance, and every minute of this one day’s return was completely filled.
The first person he met was the Second Prince.
With the floating island still being an enormous construction site, Richard ended up meeting Neil within his laboratory. Neil had left all his guards waiting at the entrance, only bringing one servant along.
The moment they met, Neil gave him an enthusiastic hug, “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you again!”
“More like looking forward to my runes,” Richard chuckled.
“Haha, of course!” Neil burst into laughter, not annoyed at all. This was the best part about him; no matter what he said or did, one could sense a genuinely free personality behind it.
“Alright then,” Richard went straight to business, “Who’s the rune for?”
“It’s her!” Neil pointed at the servant behind him.
Richard narrowed his eyes, immediately seeing through the pretence. This was a young lady of about twenty years of age, currently at the peak of her life. However, the only impression he got of her was her youthful energy; there was almost nothing special. While his own standards for beauty and aura were quite high, this person was still quite mediocre.
What surprised Richard was the look Neil gave the woman. It was the same look he himself reserved for Flowsand.
The Second Prince was nothing special to look at either, but he did have an aura of leadership and status that would entice most women to his side. However, Richard didn’t really care, “Okay, any specific requests?”
Neil muttered to himself for a while before speaking up, “Boosted mobility in all sorts of terrain is a must. On top of that, the runes should be focused around saving one’s life, just like— no, even better than Savage Barrier. Defence is the priority.”
“No, I want more offensive power!” the young woman cut in, dissatisfied.
“Don’t act up,” Neil said softly, “Anyone who wants to become a powerhouse first needs to survive. If you live longer than your opponents, you’ll naturally be stronger than them. Master Richard here is the best runemaster in the entire Sacred Alliance; I paid a heavy price for this opportunity, follow my lead alright? I’m only doing what’s best.”
“I… But… I won’t be useful on the battlefield!” the young lady argued.
“Survival is the most useful thing on the battlefield.”
“No more buts! I’ve decided!”
Seeing that the conversation was done, Richard finally butted in, “Okay, I can do that. But how powerful does the set need to be?”
Neil gritted his teeth, “No need to think about what you use, just make it as powerful as possible!”
Richard just stared deadpan at Neil for a few moment, “I’m sorry, but even with a 10% discount I don’t think you’ll be able to afford me going all out. Besides, the bottleneck isn’t even with the materials. She won’t even be able to withstand a full grade 2 set.”
A sad look crossed Neil’s face, but it was clear from his clenched teeth that he had known about this beforehand, “Just do your best! Don’t worry about the price.”
Some expensive materials could indeed lower the demand on carrying capacity. Richard thought it over for a while before casting a slew of detection spells on the woman, “… Okay, I’ll give you a draft by the afternoon. We can finalise the details by then.”
By the afternoon, Richard had already completed a design for the Savage Wanderer set. It was made of four components, one of which was a grade 3 rune optimised for capacity. It’s ability was similar to the defensive powers of Savage Barrier, capable of blocking two full blows from a powerhouse.
Neil was awed by the design, slamming his fist into the table and declaring that he wanted it, but at the sight of Richard’s half-smile he knew it wasn’t going to be good. Surely enough, the cost was enough to leave him pale. The entire set was optimised for capacity, almost doubling the price over a standard grade 2 rune set. The nearly 10 million gold in cost made Neil feel like all his fat was trembling. However, if the optimisations weren’t performed the woman wouldn’t be able to use the set.
What surprised Richard most was the fact that Neil agreed to this price through clenched teeth. He looked at the Second Prince and heaved a light sigh, “This isn’t a smart decision, you know. Aren’t you going to consider this for a while longer?”
Neil laughed bitterly, “I know, but what can you do? It’s okay to be stupid, what’s scary is never finding someone to be stupid for…”
“My dear Richard, your father once told me that being stupid is okay. In fact, he was scared of not finding someone to be stupid for…”
“Alright, then! I know you can afford it.” Richard looked over at the calendar, “Hmm… Six days from now, I’ll return to Norland. You can collect the set then.”
“You know I can afford it?” Neil just nodded his head, sighing before he took his leave.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo