Well of the Stars
Thick, new branches started to emerge from the astral tree’s bark as it grew, the leaves the lush azure colour of the stars. Boundless starlight seemed to rise up from within, floating up towards the boundless sky.
It was at this point that his Archeron bloodline roared, restricting the starlight by force. The symbols of his truename started to flow out from his soul sea, heading right into the middle. A translucent symbol right behind Dizmason immediately lit up, absorbing it all and finally taking form. The pale gold symbol had an azure afterglow.
Schloan. A simple syllable, but it contained enormous power within. Richard recognised this word from what he had read in the Codex of Alucia in his youth: in common, it read ‘well of the stars.’
A howl of surprise and anger echoed through the wilderness of the Land of Dusk, but try as he might the devil couldn’t stop the creatures under his control from toppling one after the other. Richard seemed to be a tiny flame in the hurricane of his attacks, but the flame refused to die out no matter what. Rapid movements were mixed with fierce slashes, every attack being dodged by a hair’s breadth while the retaliation was swift and fierce. A rain of blood followed Richard around as he jumped from monster to monster.
Richard hadn’t cast a single offensive spell yet, but the devil quickly understood that the flashes of lightning around his body were a mysterious method of converting mana to energy. He should have exhausted his mana pool completely by now, but instead of collapsing the sasormas were being chopped up one after the other.
There was only one break in the entire battle, and that occurred when all of the devilfish were dead.
“You… really are… as powerful as three grand mages!” the devil exclaimed through clenched teeth.
On the other hand, Richard flashed a smile as brilliant as the sun, “I’m not there yet, I’m just very good at saving my mana.”
“Now it’s just us,” the devil said solemnly.
“Mm, so you can go die now.”
“Why do I have the feeling that I’ll be the one gobbling you up?”
“Ha. You think you’re better at estimating my strength than I am at keeping it hidden?” Richard didn’t care for the probing questions. While these devils were considered quite intelligent in Daxdus, Norland’s civilisation was built upon mathematics.
*Clang! Whoosh!* Just before they were about to collide once more, he used his sword to parry and exhaled a breath of abyssal fire right in the devil’s face. The flames immediately clung to the enemy’s body, burning him up quickly.
Richard backed off and carefully started collecting his items, occasionally dodging the screaming devil’s attempts at taking him along. He sighed in relief; the abyssal flames had been the last of his powers, and if the enemy had dodged he would have been left with no choice but to flee. However, many fights were just that cruel; one move often decided victory and defeat.
He looked within himself, feeling his world tree refine energy from the void as his truename morphed into what seemed like an ancient blue well. The volatile liquid within the well turned into wisps of mana that replenished him in combat. He had lied about his so-called ability to save; while his mana efficiency was certainly amongst the best, the major reason for his stamina in this battle came from the activation of his truename.
Truenames were one’s greatest secret. If an enemy could find out exactly what abilities they granted, they could narrow down the individual parts of the truename and perhaps figure it out. Fighting an enemy that could use your truename was near impossible. Even if he had an absolute guarantee that he could kill the devil, Richard would never reveal this secret; even just getting word out to one of its kin would be the death of him.
Eventually, the devil collapsed amidst the pain. The abyssal fire continued to burn its exterior to a crisp, turning almost its entire body to ash until there was nothing of value to be found on its person. Richard just walked through the battlefield for a bit before setting off for the capital of the Unsetting Sun with devilfish skin in tow. With more and more devilfish being spotted recently, their composition was revealed as well. These creatures were extremely simple without any ability to grow or evolve, and almost nothing in their bodies was useful to humans. Their skin did have great magic resistance, but that meant nothing to a plane that was used to fighting magic with magic.
Even if he filled his entire backpack with devilfish skin, it would be worth no more than 100,000 gold. That wasn’t a major amount to him, but it was at least better than nothing. A side-effect of constantly immersing himself in a world of numbers was that he was acutely aware of how little things added up. His blessings made him quite stingy in a way, and sometimes it was hard to shake off the compulsion of earning what he could.
His figure looked extremely lonely as he carried the huge pack along the path, but Richard’s footsteps were firm and unhurried. His biggest improvement after spending nearly a year in a battlefield of despair was that his patience was now vast. He could walk for an extraordinary length of time without feeling dull at all.
By this point in time, the two guards at the entrance to the Unsetting Sun were old friends. They were the same ones that had made things difficult for him during his first arrival, but it had been months since he had forgiven them for that slight. These fellows had exhausted almost all of their potential, destined to never move further along their path. Such saints were not considered powerhouses in the battlefields of despair, but they also made up the lowest and widest rung of society. They took on myriad duties that true powerhouses disdained, becoming the gears that ran the entire war effort.
“Richard, you’re back! Seems like you found a lot, too!” a middle-aged man shouted with delight. One wouldn’t be able to tell from the warmth in his voice that he was calling out to someone he had tried to extort in the past.
Richard chuckled, “A big package doesn’t mean anything. I was unlucky this time, only found devilfish.”
The aged warrior nearby nodded with sympathy, “Mm, those things are annoying and worthless. More and more are appearing recently, you should be careful too.”
“Hmm… You’re right. Should I take you guys along on my next trip?”
The first warrior was a little surprised and immediately wanted to agree. Richard wasn’t level 18 yet, but it was clear that his abilities in battle far exceeded that of an ordinary grand mage. Although Richard made it seem like they would be protecting him, they would actually just follow behind him and scrounge a share of the spoils. It was extremely rare for those below level 18 to forcefully stop their advance— after all, few below the saint realm could actually survive this place— but every such figure was an extraordinary character who would grow up to be a powerhouse. Beye Orleans had spent three years at level 17 before she took the step.
These guards had watched as Richard’s injuries grew lighter and lighter even as his excursions grew longer. At first he returned on the verge of fainting, but now there were times where he returned totally unharmed. If he was actually inviting them to join an adventure, that only meant he was nearly matchless in the surrounding regions.
Despite his desires, the warrior who had once threatened Richard struggled to swallow his saliva and shook his head, “It’s fine, we’d only hold you down. We have no hopes of levelling up anymore, it’s enough to earn some money here to support our families. We’ll join you for a drink later, though.”
Richard didn’t insist, just nodding with a laugh. Bidding them goodbye, he entered the city and headed for his residence. People constantly greeted him along the way, but he responded to them all and even occasionally stopped for some small talk. Most of these people were like the two saints guarding the gate, having no hope to advance, but some amongst them were young and talented, perhaps capable of becoming sub-legendary experts in their lives. However, Richard treated them all equally; to him, this was a city of friends.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hestia
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA