“It’s Summon Red Dragon. More precisely, when Sharon uses it it becomes Greater Dragon Summon,” Gaton answered quickly.
“Back in the day, when your teacher first entered the legendary realm, there were some… let’s say some little conflicts between her and the Archerons. I was young, hot-blooded, and competitive at that time, and I brought six friends with just as much energy as me from the family to battle her. We weren’t legendary ourselves yet, but we had strength in numbers and the combination of classes wasn’t too bad. Altogether, we had just about enough battle might to fight a legendary being.
“Sharon had just advanced, and only had one legendary spell. Once she cast it she would only be a peak grand mage, and while there would definitely be people amongst us who died to that spell… When has a true Archeron ever feared death?”
Gaton raised his head and looked outside the window as he recounted the past, an unintended arrogance in his expression. The fact that seven young Archerons had the guts to challenge a legendary mage was a definite proof of their courage in any era. Of course, courage and recklessness were inseparable twins, with a close sibling called stupidity.
And just as expected, Gaton grew bitter after that hint of pride, speaking slowly, “The very first spell your teacher learnt was Summon Red Dragon… The beginning of the battle that day was classic: our grand mages used Time Stop to counteract Sharon’s own, and she used her absolute advantage at cast speed to stop all our movements with Bind Group. She followed up with a portal that shifted her a hundred metres away, before she finished her legendary spell.
Halfway through the incantation we realised that it was the Summon Red Dragon spell, and at that moment it was like we’d seen some hope of success! After all, red dragons themselves didn’t have legendary strength, and we could hold it down with a mere two people. The rest could then focus their efforts on attacking the legendary mage, but…”
There was a sense of struggle in his expression, indicating that the trauma he’d acquired from that battle wasn’t insignificant, “When her chant finished, we were actually faced with three dragons, not one! And only one of them was red, the other two actually black! And then… and then everything was straightforward. The three dragons charged out and made us all fall, while your adorable little teacher began eating fruits at the back.”
Richard gasped, asking in shock, “Three?!”
“I only found out later, but Sharon’s bloodline ability is extremely rare, boosting the power of her summoning spells. It turned the ordinary Summon Red Dragon into Greater Dragon Summon, a spell that could summon both stronger and more dragons than the former. Of course, there’s no real difference between two dragons and three.” Gaton sighed in admiration before he shook his head and smiled at Richard, “If Sharon were to cast a Greater Dragon Summon now, there will definitely be more than three. You understand, don’t you? If anyone wants a one-on-one battle with her, they won’t end up in good shape.”
A matured red dragon wasn’t much different from a paladin in terms of battle prowess, being somewhere between levels 18 and 20. Although a red dragon was a powerful supporting force in a battle between legendary beings, it wouldn’t be a deciding factor.
However, three dragons was a whole other story. Even three red dragons could be a deciding factor in a battle, and two of Sharon’s summons were black dragons instead. A mature black dragon was about level 20, an existence on the verge of stepping into the legendary realm that was far more powerful than a red dragon. Even a single black dragon had the might to turn the tables in a battle, much less two or three of them.
What Gaton was trying to get at was that his teacher was actually rather poor at solo battles, relying on her powerful talent in combat.
However, Richard would obviously stand on Sharon’s side. He immediately expelled such thoughts, asking instead about the outcome of the battle, “So? How many of you died?”
Gaton laughed, saying, “None. Our conflict wasn’t very major, and besides your teacher doesn’t really like killing people. Rather, she actually enjoys doing business. She let us all off and even gave each of some money as the starting funds for campaigns to acquire our own planes. In exchange, we would give her half the income from the first plane each of us conquered. Of everyone, I got the most money. However, these campaigns weren’t without risks. Of the seven Archerons then, only three of us are still alive.”
Even from Gaton’s light-hearted manner of bringing this up, Richard could still tell how tragic it was. Of the seven young fellows gutsy enough to challenge a legendary mage while not having stepped into that realm themselves, four had fallen in planar battles in a relatively short period of time.
Gaton gazed out of the window at this point, now looking stern, “Alright, it’s getting late. Let’s not dwell on the past any longer. Richard, you’re already of age and considered an official member of the Archeron Family. As the head of the family, not as your father, I will continue to give you resources. However, in return you are to abide by the three ancient traditions of the Archerons. In addition, before you completely repay the family, you need to pledge loyalty to it.”
“Before I completely repay the family?” Richard asked.
“Someday in the future, when your contributions to the family surpass the amount it has invested into you, you will no longer be restricted by the family, and can do as you wish. Many Archerons have walked this path in the past as well.
“However, before you are relieved of your duties, you must abide by the ancient traditions of the family. This is the responsibility of every Archeron,” Gaton said sternly.
“What ancient traditions?”
Gaton’s expression became even more solemn as he straightened his back and said in a low voice, “One, all Archerons shall maintain the purity and continuity of the family bloodline. Two, there shall be no internal battles between members of the family. Three, the strongest Archeron shall be tasked with guarding the family tombs.”
The last two were easy to comprehend, but the first one had Richard stumped. Gaton knew that Richard knew very little about the Archerons’ traditions and secrets, and thus explained further.
The Archeron bloodline was very ancient and mysterious, powerful yet unstable. An entire twenty two different types of abilities had appeared so far in the family, and the purer the bloodline the more powerful the abilities became. It gave rise to beings of unparalleled power.
Thus, the Archerons had a centuries-old precept, which was that the most sacred duty of every member of the family was to maintain the purity of the family bloodline and pass it on. One needed descendants to pass on the bloodline, and to keep it concentrated and pure one would need to marry other Archerons. Thus, all members of the Archeron Family that were supported by its resources had to marry an Archeron and have a child unless they contributed greatly enough. In many cases, their significant other was chosen by the family head or other powerful members, and they had no right to choose anything. The weaker one was, the less they could say. There were many cases of intermarriage in Archeron history, including that between even blood siblings.
Only after hearing this did Richard understand why the atmosphere had been so strange in Blackrose Castle when he’d met his sisters.
“Things aren’t as bad as you think they are, kid!” Gaton chuckled. “As the only runemaster amongst your generation of the Archerons, you have a lot of privileges! Besides getting the most investment, you can choose a few of the girls who don’t have partners yet for your own. Of course, this will only continue until you have your own child. In no time at all, you’ll know what you can get from the family.”
Richard released a long breath and said, “I… I think I’ll rely on myself.”
Gaton looked at Richard, his gaze seeming to have a penetrative force that let him stare right into the depths of Richard’s heart. It made him let out an involuntary tremble.
“Kid, don’t reach a conclusion so quickly. You’ll definitely regret this decision in the future. I think your mother should be the most valuable person in your life.” Gaton’s voice was like magic, leaving Richard stunned once more. In that moment, Richard even felt that Gaton knew of his mother’s dying wish. However, this was a secret hidden deep in his heart. No matter what, he would not share it with this man.
Even as Richard remained bewildered, Gaton’s voice sounded by his ear once more, “Alright, kid! I’ll bring you to the family tombs. That is a ceremony that every Archeron has to go through once they come of age.”
The term stunned Richard this time, and his mother’s voice seemed to ring in his ears once more, “When the day comes that you’ve grown to become a real man, bury me in the highest layer of your father’s family tombs!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter