Gaton just stared at Richard for an entire minute, not speaking a word. Richard for his part stood and met his father’s gaze with no intentions of backing down. Sweat beaded all over his forehead very quickly, rolling down his cheeks until his clothes were drenched, but he held strong.
The stress of meeting Gaton’s gaze could not be described in words. Richard’s body was trembling within the blink of an eye, and he felt like he would fall apart at any moment after very little time. And still he gritted his teeth and pressed on, looking to continue standing there second to second.
Just as his gaze began to grow blurry, the mountainous pressure suddenly disappeared without a trace. Richard sighed, growing so feeble he almost collapsed, but he kept himself upright with sheer force of will.
Gaton suddenly burst into laughter, exclaiming, “Great! Looks like Sharon wasn’t stingy with your training after all! That’s rather rare… Wait, it feels bad to start badmouthing her now. Come here, kid! Your dad’s going to show you something good!”
Richard furrowed his brows, obviously feeling uncomfortable with the term Gaton had used for himself. He didn’t speak up however, instead walking to the magic map just like Gaton had asked him to.
“See this? This is a partial map of the Resting Orchid Plane. It’s a name I came up with myself, the actual registration number for it is 17658 in the Church of the Eternal Dragon. I’ve been campaigning in this plane for nearly ten years, and have a fifth of the land here. That’s only an estimate, however. I haven’t finished exploring the borders of the continent so I don’t know the full size.”
The map made it evident that the plane’s topology was similar to Norland’s. There were mountains, rivers, oceans, and plains here, and based on the markings and calculations on the map borders it covered over a million square kilometres! The huge patches of green on the map showed that this was a continent full of life, with all sorts of natural resources. The best part was that, because the planes were similar, there wasn’t much need for processing the gathered resources which would reduce any wear and tear. Even if Gaton possessed a mere fifth of the area shown on the map, that was still 200,000 square kilometres! That was enough territory to create a large duchy on Norland!
A charming smile appeared on Gaton’s face as he spoke to Richard, “Kid, do you know why I want you to see the map of the Resting Orchid Plane?”
Richard obviously had no idea, and Gaton did not expect him to answer. He continued without pause, “The entirety of my earnings from the Resting Orchid Plane, as well as a small amount from another common plane went into your studies in the Deepblue. Even if you’re back I need to give Sharon my income for another five years. I’ve already made inroads into these planes, and the profits from the territory I own every year already exceed a million gold coins. On top of that, they’re slated to increase by over 30% year on year for the next five years.”
Richard immediately went quiet. He didn’t even need to think it over to realise that the income from these planes over the next five years would exceed ten million coins. This amount was something that even he, someone who’d gotten used to the costs of the Deepblue, felt stifled by. When a standard rune knight cost 500,000 coins to create, ten million would give someone two entire squads!
Gaton looked at Richard and continued, “The reason I’m telling you this is because I want you to know the price that had to be paid to make you a runemaster mage. We Archerons are always fair. There are 37 members of your generation of or nearly of age. Nine are my children, your half siblings. There’s also a total of 71 who aren’t yet of age as well. Amongst all of these contenders, you’re the one we’ve invested the most into. In fact, the total investment we’ve put into you is more than the total sum of your brothers and sisters combined. And that’s just the beginning, I will only pour more and more into you in the future. Your teacher, Sharon, will be doing the same.”
Richard instinctively wanted to reject Gaton’s financial aid, but he found he didn’t have the means to do so. He’d already used up far too much of Gaton’s resources, and with the man mentioning Sharon as well he couldn’t say anything to object. Only after leaving the Deepblue had he come to understand just how much Sharon had given him.
A world of magic had been opened up to Richard inside the Deepblue, a special treatment only he had been entitled to receive. With her imperceptible influence on Professor Fayr and the other grand mages, and the custom schedule she’d built for him, Sharon had actually taught him a school of thought and pushed him onto his path as a runemaster. That was actually the most precious thing a teacher could give a student.
Far too many people studied a lifetime of magic from mediocre teachers, forever moving in circles within the same box of set rules. All they grasped of spells was accurate chanting and precise mana allocation. Even if they spent their entire lifetime throwing out fireballs, they would never be able to even understand the principles behind the spell, let alone make improvements upon it.
Most mages could only replicate past spells, forever unable to invent their own. And just like such mages made up a majority, runemasters without their own creations were a majority in the field of runecrafting as well.
Gaton saw that Richard hadn’t rejected him, and nodded in satisfaction, “Not bad, kid. You’ve grown up quite a bit, far better than your old man back in the day. But it won’t be all that easy for you to achieve as much as I did when I was at your age. You’ve been quiet, you don’t make a ruckus, you don’t drink, you don’t flirt around— why? Men need friends and brothers. When you have enough brothers, nobody will dare provoke you. There is strength in numbers!”
“But Master relies on herself!” Richard objected, an instinctive reaction that would arise regardless of what exactly Gaton said.
However, he had nothing to back these words of his. After all, there were as many as seventeen grand mages in the Deepblue, and numerous other great mages as well. All information of her battles was altered twice by the time it reached him, sometimes even thrice, so one could only imagine how trustworthy it was.
Of course she only fought alone after reaching the legendary realm, but that was more because those under level 20 were of no use in battles of that level. Moreover, being the person with the most intimate relationship with her he’d vaguely sensed the strangeness of her battle style. She didn’t seem to walk a path of firm courage.
The moment Richard’s words left his mouth, Gaton’s expression immediately turned strange. He stroked his moustache, but could not completely cover his mouth that had opened wide. Richard only saw soundless laughter from the man as he tried his best not to make any sound.
Only after a long while did Gaton finally stop laughing and ask Richard, “Kid, do you know what your teacher’s favourite legendary spell is?”
The higher the ranking of a legendary mage, the greater the number of legendary spells they could cast. However, there were few legendary spells that were spread around extensively, and Richard had seen them all in magic tomes before. He knew that Gaton had to have a reason for asking this, and he tried his best to recall and make conjectures, “Summon Red Dragon? Sun Strike? Vampiric Mist?”
These three spells were publicly acknowledged to be the legendary mage’s favourite spells. They were extremely powerful, simple to cast, and were very effective at increasing one’s offensive power in battle.Previous Chapter Next Chapter