Faust was not at peace. The entire Sacred Alliance was discussing Emperor Philip’s unworldly power in the recovery of the Fort of Dawn, growing extremely excited. It had been many years since the name of Bloodthirsty Philip had spread throughout Norland, and it caused the older nobles to hearken back to the glorious achievements of his youth. Some even dug up old portraits of that time; although Philip wasn’t the most handsome of people, just his presence alone carried great weight. Those who thought he was just a slob changed their opinions of him completely, finding that he was just a lion waiting for the hunt.
Unsurprisingly, Richard didn’t garner much attention when he returned to Norland. He just put his things at home before heading straight for the Church of the Eternal Dragon with a large enchanted chest in hand, met by grand priestess Noelene who was glowing with every word. She had made a million gold off Faelorian minerals in the past months, allowing her to take care of all of her family, relatives, and many friends.
“Richard, long time no see! How long have you been in the Land of Dusk now, a year? Wait… Why aren’t you a grand mage yet? This couldn’t possibly be a bottleneck for you…” She suddenly paused, eyeing him from head to toe, “I see you’ve gone through some changes… Hmm… Very impressive changes at that…”
“Changes?” Richard suppressed a shudder before stroking his chin out of habit, but having shaved it clean only a few hours ago he didn’t find much to feel. He was unsure just what kind of changes she was referring to.
Noelene wasn’t completely sure herself. It seemed like nothing much had changed about him except a slight increase in killing intent, but that was par for the course for someone who’d lived in a battlefield of despair. It took her a long time to understand just what the change she felt was, “Your temperament… Anyway, let’s not talk about that. You’re finally back, do you need anything?”
“I need to meet Flowsand and Ferlyn first, but other than that I’m naturally here to offer a sacrifice,” Richard threw the enchanted chest on the ground.
With her sharp eyes, Noelene instantly knew that the chest had spatial properties and stored a large number of offerings within. Her eyes sparked uncontrollably, but she stopped herself from asking who he wanted the hostess to be, “Well, Flowsand will only be back after some time, and the High Priestess hasn’t been in a good mood lately.”
“Why?” Richard asked, slightly curious.
“I’m not sure, but I can confirm that she’s been cranky for days. Are you sure you still want to meet her?”
“Lord Richard, high priestess Ferlyn has learnt of your presence and wishes to meet you now,” a paladin suddenly rushed out from the back of the church.
“Well, I guess that’s that. Tell her I’ll be there in a minute.” Richard bid goodbye to Noelene before following the paladin to the back of the church.
Ferlyn’s hall was different from the last time he had seen it. It was so tidy now that it almost felt empty, with no furniture or decorations to be seen. Ferlyn was just sitting cross-legged on the ground, so Richard followed suit and he sat in front of her.
She swept her gaze across his body before looking blankly into the distance for a few minutes on end. Noticing her silence, Richard elected not to disturb her train of thought. When she eventually heaved a long sigh and collected herself once more, life filled back into her eyes as her gaze instantly pierced through every fibre of his being. Richard shivered with the feeling that all of his secrets had been seen through.
“Seems like you’ve gained a lot on your trip,” she said with clear admiration in her eyes.
“Things are going according to plan,” Richard answered honestly.
“How many years do you plan to wait before becoming a grand mage?”
“Four years, maybe a little longer.”
“Hmm? That seems a bit much. I thought three would be enough.” Ferlyn waved her hands and timeforce formed a tea set out of thin air. She immediately picked up the pot and poured out some green tea, causing a pleasant aroma to fill Richard’s senses as she offered him a cup and started sipping from her own.
Richard had a mouthful before sighing with fresh energy, “That’s good… And yes, three years should have been enough, but I’m not someone who can set everything aside for my path to power. I still have my territories to look after, new planes to conquer, old planes to consolidate. My followers depend on me, and there are many other commitments I have to fulfil.”
Ferlyn nodded, “Did you see Philip in the Land of Dusk? How is he?”
“His Majesty?” Richard flashed a bitter smile, “He recovered the Fort of Dawn in one go. I don’t have the ability to join in on such an endeavour. He didn’t return to the Unsetting Sun after I got there either, and it’s been a while since I heard any news about him. I’m not sure where he is right now, I’ll try to get some more information when I return.”
“It’s alright, I just want to know how he is from time to time. No need to ask around.”
Richard stared at Ferlyn, his inquisitive gaze matched by the calmness of a lake. She didn’t look angry nor concerned about Philip at all, which was a little strange.
Ferlyn couldn’t help a laugh, “You little rascal, just what are you thinking about?”
“Just that the Emperor is really taking great risks. Why don’t you go and help him?”
Ferlyn sighed softly, “I cannot leave this church until the Eternal Dragon finds another Chosen to replace me.”
Richard’s eyes went wide, his voice starting to tremble, “F-Flowsand?”
He parted his lips to ask a question, but his voice never rang out. Eventually he calmed down, sealing his queries within his heart. A tinge of sorrow flashed within Ferlyn’s eyes as she sighed to herself. They really were way too similar.
Richard and Flowsand right now were almost exactly the same as she and Philip had been all those decades ago. The way they handled matters, even the paths they took were almost parallel. Too intelligent, thinking too much and wanting to do a lot for each other, but constantly forgetting to ask the other if that was what they truly wanted.
Everyone wished to be thoughtful and meticulous in their youth, but they didn’t know that such a line of thought could eventually push two people apart. Ferlyn decided to give them a helping hand, “It won’t be a problem for now, I still don’t want to leave this church. You two will have ample time to spend together, to talk and battle side by side.”
Richard understood some of her intentions, but was unclear on a lot, “High Priestess… If you leave the church, where would you go?”
“A world with no light. I’m unsure exactly where it is, nor would I be able to know even if I wanted to, but those of us tired of staying within the church can choose to go to that place. Thereafter, the new Chosen will have to take over.”
Ferlyn’s voice was gentle and pleasant, but Richard felt a chill run down his spine. Her words made it clear that Flowsand would have to replace her when she got tired of her life of sitting in the church all day. There might be some ways to free oneself from such a fate, but Flowsand clearly didn’t meet the requirements.
“Is it related to offerings?” he asked testingly. He had immediately recalled how Ferlyn had asked him to share his divine grace with Flowsand on multiple occasions.
Ferlyn smiled and stayed silent, but that spoke volumes in and of itself. The Eternal Dragon had boundless power, possessing far too many methods to prevent people from leaking secrets. That was especially true for someone it had chosen; Ferlyn could only guide him in subtle ways.
He nodded at her, “I brought quite a few offerings with me this time, Can you arrange for two more—”
Ferlyn signalled for him to go quiet, smiling gently as she said, “It’s alright to be naughty on occasion, but too much and it’ll be a problem. Don’t worry, I’ll stay here so long as my mood is good enough. Nobody can force me to do something I don’t want to.”
“But… isn’t that too great of a sacrifice?” Richard cared a lot about Flowsand, but he didn’t believe he had the right to make others sacrifice themselves for her.
“Like I said, only as long as I’m in a good mood.” Ferlyn grinned like a fox, but even that was matchlessly graceful.
“Then what can I do to keep your mood up?” Richard asked promptly.
“For now, it’s really simple. Whenever you go to the Land of Dusk, keep an eye on that damn fatty for me! If he dares to hook up with anyone, report to me right away! I won’t tolerate even Daxdian women!” The mischievous smile warped into absolute malice.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Karen
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA