Book 5, Chapter 49

Fleeting Time

When it came to status, the Land of Dusk was even more brutal than Norland. Power and potential were everything; the two warriors guarding the gates had been there since their arrival and would stay there in the future. Beye, for example, could kill either of them on a whim and she wouldn’t be punished beyond a reprimand; they were no different from the lowest of commoners.

However, Richard found unique points of interest in even these mediocre people. Nobody was perfect, and he could understand their helplessness. The entire city had become friends of his over the past year, and sometimes powerhouses from the other forts came to visit him as well.

He still drank all the time, especially after every excursion. The street in front of his house was now a small plaza with tables, parasols, and chairs, while the unremarkable stone ledge had some intricate railings installed. A few grand mages even grew climbers from below the ledge, feeding the plants their own energy to help them take root in this toxic land. This had made Richard’s doorstep one of the few green spots within the entire city.

The entire plaza turned into a small carnival whenever he drank, brimming with cheer and carefreeness. However, there was still a distinct division between the people that came. Those with talent and power had no respect for normal saints, separating into their own clique. Some of them didn’t approve of commoners mingling with the strong, but Richard had made his choice and they didn’t want to risk offending a runemaster.

The two parties’ attitudes were different as well. The powerhouses were very respectful of Richard, flattering him to no end whenever they could, while the commoners were more intimate as they joked and laughed around. Richard even played drinking games with them, not hesitating to personally pour liquor down the throats of the losers when he won. Eventually, he had come to spend more time with these normal saints than with those who were only looking for him to craft their runes.

Today, Richard drank until he couldn’t even stand straight. Bidding everyone farewell, he disappeared into his house and snores immediately started to sound from within. The powerhouses were the first to leave, resentful looks on some of their faces as they wondered whether he would even remember them tomorrow. The commoners stayed behind; they knew by now that Richard had a photographic memory, and they would make sure to tell him which of the experts around him were only trying to exploit his abilities.

Having dismissed it all, Richard fell deep asleep. He dreamt of his bloodlines, of his astral world tree that was now so much taller than everything else in his spiritual sea. He dreamt of the crimson Archeron web that encircled it all, broken through by the azure branches of the tree’s crown. The two bloodlines were still competing, but the Archeron power no longer had the upper hand. Dizmason was a more powerful symbol, but Schloan was a testament to his elven bloodline’s growth.

……

Loud clanging suddenly echoed within Richard’s house. He tried to sleep through it, but his snores eventually faded away and he started to stretch, yawning loudly in the process. An elaborate magical clock was ringing incessantly in a corner, celebrating the end of a long silence.

The time had arrived.

Richard smiled bitterly; his current life had come to an end. It was now time to go back to his old life, to once more become the family head of the Archerons. A year in the Land of Dusk was equivalent to about a year and a quarter in Faelor, and a little over a month and a week in Norland. The faces of Flowsand, Waterflower, Gangdor, Tiramisu, Nyris, Agamemnon and many others floated up from distant memories, giving him a powerful blow.

Was the path to power meant to be so lonely?

He rushed into the bathroom, taking off his clothes before conjuring a big pail of icy water and pouring it down his head. The piercing cold shook him awake completely, his mana starting to burn away the hangover as he puffed out some white mist, walking over to a mirror to look at himself.

For a moment, he was dumbstruck. Staring back at him was a long-haired man with a thick beard all across his face and chin, radiating a powerful aura of death. His handsome nobility was nowhere to be seen except perhaps in his beautiful elven eyes. He had to shake his head and confirm that it was indeed himself in the mirror, not Gaton.

So that’s how that man had gotten his image. He suddenly laughed, whistling as he trimmed his hair and beard with the long elven sword. The elegant youth returned, but now he no longer had that delicate air. The aura of death surrounding him was too strong to be concealed, just like with Beye.

He closed the mirror and looked at himself carefully, putting away the sword and walking out of his house with two enchanted chests of different sizes.

A middle-aged saint was putting an envelope on the porch with extreme care, face full of hope and anxiety, Even his hands were shaking. Perhaps he had reached a bottleneck, or he might have saved up enough money to finally buy a rune set. Either way, Richard was the greatest hope for improving his strength right now.

The man only briefly glanced at the person walking out the door before looking back at the envelope on the porch. He kept adjusting its position, never quite satisfied with how it sat. Richard smiled quietly and walked away with his luggage, shouting as he passed Lawrence’s clinic, “Oi oldie, I’m going back for a while!”

“Get lost!” a voice sounded from within, “Don’t waste my effort, remember that list!”

“What list? I don’t remember any list!” Richard felt his face turn green at the mere mention of the fifty-year-old list, running away before Lawrence could even rebuke him.

Back at Richard’s doorstep, the saint finally gave up and found an agreeable position. Staring at it for a little while, he turned to walk away. Only then did he begin to find the youth that had just walked by a little familiar.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: YJH

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA