Book 5, Chapter 53

Returning To The Planes

Once all the trivialities were taken care of, it was time for Richard to decide on his next move. In front of him right now were maps of Faelor, the Forest Plane, the Resting Orchid Plane under Senma’s care, and the Tulland plane that was being guarded by Asiris. Everyone had grown excited the moment he asked for these maps to be brought out; this meant that he planned to leave the battlefields of despair for some time in planar wars.

“Hmm… Let’s go have a look!” he said after a period of indecision, pointing at the map of the Resting Orchid Plane. Senma’s beautiful brows arched up as she looked at him with interest.

He immediately issued commands to redeploy his followers. With the changes to Blackrose Castle complete, he now had a full 3,000-man army waiting in his camps, a number that didn’t include the more powerful free warriors from both the Archeron family and allies and subordinates. Nor did it include the 300 rune knight candidates.

A messenger was sent to return with all 100 elite shadowspear knights that the broodmother had made for him in this time. Andrieka and Mito were the only ones left guarding the Crimson Dukedom, but so long as the cloned brain had Raymond’s assistance it was near impossible to defeat. The Faelorians were already too scared to move recklessly.

It took two days for all of his subordinates to assemble. While the castle was buzzing with activity, Richard spent the time as per usual studying the map in his command centre. Senma was called in from time to time and asked questions about the customs and situation of the plane.

The Resting Orchid was a rather peculiar plane. It only had a single continent that was less than a million square kilometres in size, and it was surrounded by boundless ocean. Contrasted to bigger, more powerful planes, this was nothing more than an island. The shape of this island was strange as well; it was wide at the centre and tapered out to both ends, but the elevation consistently increased from south to north. At the northern tip was the tallest mountain in the land at a little over ten kilometres high.

Gaton’s foothold was at the southern tip of this plane. After more than ten years spent on this expedition, his lands now accounted for two-fifths of the entire continent. The indigenous forces were fierce, and a great valley near the centre of the plane made for a natural barrier that aided their defence. Having paid the price of more than three times the casualties over three whole months, the forces of the plane had eventually consumed more than half of his initial invading force and forced him to stall.

It wouldn’t be impossible to decimate the rest of the locals, but it just wasn’t worth it. Such an endeavour would almost completely wear out the army there, and the profits wouldn’t make up for such a loss. The plane wasn’t developed much from Norland either; the cost of transfer was still 30,000 gold, so Gaton didn’t have the finances to send anything more than a small force of elites. In recent days, it was only the thirteen knights entering and exiting the plane.

Outside of the strange form of the plane, Richard was also interested in the surrounding ocean. The locals said there was no end to the sea, with countless people having headed out to map the oceans never to be seen again. There was no life in the seas either, only salt water. One couldn’t even find kelp in the plane’s water. The locals had no word for fish or any other marine life, but Gaton had discovered a mural about aquatic lifeforms in a mysterious temple a while ago.

Looking at the map, Richard suddenly found something strange. He turned to ask Senma who was in the room, “Where did you get this map?”

Even in Norland, a map of the entire plane was important, valuable, and difficult to obtain. The Resting Orchid Plane was smaller, but the accuracy of this map was unbelievable.

“We took the map from a temple,” Senma responded, “We didn’t take it too seriously at first, but we quickly realised just how accurate this map was. I then copied the details of that map instead of using the one we’d made ourselves.”

Richard pointed towards the peak at the northern end of the plane, “So this stuff was copied over from the original as well?”

“Yes, is there anything wrong?”

“No…” Richard shook his head, but he still felt a strange feeling of disconnection. It looked like the peak of this plane was right on the edge of the coast, forming a 10-kilometre cliff. Such terrain couldn’t be formed naturally, and made it look like this was a section of a plane that was cut off by a powerful god. This peak had a strange name as well; it was just called the Godnest.

After a lengthy discussion with Senma, he learnt that the plane had inordinate power for its size. There were legendary beings here, and more than one at that. Its magic was developed as well, although it took the route of Klandor’s totemic warriors instead of Norland’s runes. As he listened to these descriptions,he was constantly working with an abacus, making calculations with reference to the information on the map.

It took half an hour after Senma stopped talking for Richard to stand back up. There was now a frown on his face.

“What’s wrong?” she couldn’t help but ask impatiently.

“The size of this plane. Every calculation tells me that it should be ten times as large as it is to produce a legendary being. With its current size, even level 15 creatures should be rare.”

Senma didn’t understand planar geometry, but she did know that smaller planes should have weaker enemies. “There are multiple legendary beings there. We encountered one at some point, but only managed to wound him seriously before he ran away.”

Richard’s brows furrowed tighter and tighter as he thought over it for a long time. Eventually, he pointed at a location on the map, “Here should be a good place to start.”

“You want to attack?” Senma was surprised.

“This place has some secret to it, it’s worth a major investment.”

“Major investment? How much?”

“My followers,  a hundred rune knights, and all the elites.”

Senma immediately gasped. Having spent very little time beside Richard, she didn’t fully understand the sheer difference between Richard and Gaton. She had assumed Richard just had a little more money, but now he was mobilising all the elites within Blackrose! That was more than 12 million gold in transfer costs!

This wasn’t even a problem with Gaton’s money anymore. Just like the man loved to say, there was a point where quantity overwhelmed quality. A current-day example would be Emperor Philip. Now that he had showcased his abilities once more, the dragon ribs he ate at every meal were now the fashion of high society. Only the most wealthy families could afford such ribs, while the rest started to eat the calf or whatever other dragon meat they could.

The little kid had grown up. Senma’s eyes suddenly became tender and watery. In her opinion, wealth and power were the most attractive aspects in a man. Physical beauty was a good thing, but it wasn’t a major issue. However, this youth in front of her was strong, handsome, and wealthy enough to pay 12 million just to transfer soldiers.

Richard was actually quite depressed. He had sacrificed a number of offerings with his return, but not one had given him a decrease in teleportation costs. This was just the way of the Eternal Dragon; one always got things they would vaguely want, but there was no guarantee that urgent needs would be met.

As he was mulling over the costs, Senma suddenly reached out and grabbed his shoulder, her bulging breasts pressing into his back, “If I become a follower, how much can I get?”

Richard looked up, a little surprised, “Become a follower? You’re not planning to wait for Gaton to come back?”

“Hey! I was still young at the time, but your father deceived me into following him with this set of armour. It’s been more than a decade now. You know, it’s easy to cheat little girls like me. Three… No, five sets of armour are enough to make me your follower. I’m not asking for much; if you don’t have the sets right now you can just give me the money or send it to me later.” Senma's eyes shone with the brilliance of gold.

Richard looked through what Senma was wearing. The most impressive fact about it was the sheer lack of coverage everywhere except at the breasts. The material wasn’t bad, but the enchantments were quite mediocre and the boost to her defences was surprisingly low. This was a superior-grade set that could only be considered borderline epic at best.

“Five sets? No problem,” he agreed immediately. Forget superior-grade armour, he could even get five epic sets without issue. Memories surfaced of a beautiful sub-legendary suit of armour in Nyris’ armoury that was quite lightweight.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo