Richard immediately felt a slight headache coming on. Situations like these were always the most difficult to deal with, and he had made promises to all the three women he loved that he could not give up on. Flowsand’s rebuke seemed trivial, but she had every right to be annoyed with him.
In this critical moment, the only solution he could think of was to continue hugging her tightly, “You are you, different from everyone else. Of course I’m your man, don’t you dare think of leaving me!”
“Hmph!” Flowsand whined a little, but she let him off and didn’t argue any further.
The night passed quietly, and the next morning Richard and his followers returned to Blackrose Castle. Most of the followers would immediately cross planes once more into Faelor, continuing the Crimson Dukedom’s efforts on advancing into the barbarian ancestral plains. He and Flowsand would return to Faust, with him heading to the Land of Dusk and her to the Church.
However, there was a letter waiting for him upon his arrival. There were no inscriptions or designations on it, but next to it was a note from the attendant mentioning that it had been sent from the Deepblue via magic circle.
Richard’s heart skipped a beat when he read the name. The Deepblue held a special place in his heart, a second home but also the source of his greatest embarrassment. It was the first time he was so badly defeated that he couldn’t even retaliate, chased out like an abandoned pet. Although Ensio was at least faithful to Sharon and had no designs on her, his words still felt like a brand burnt directly into the soul.
He had silently resolved himself not to return to the Deepblue until he could defeat Ensio in battle. He hadn’t allowed himself to rest in the Battlefield of Despair, his second mind jolting him awake if he overslept for so much as a moment. Ensio’s curses were constantly ringing in his head with every enemy he killed, like a dagger lodged in his throat. Richard had cultivated both patience and determination purely for the sake of avenging his defeat.
Why had the Deepblue sent him a letter? Richard didn’t rush to read the message, instead closing his eyes and thinking for a while. He was still too weak to beat even Voidbones reliably, and miles apart from Ensio. The chances of him being able to help with any problems were quite low, so there should have been no reason to contact him.
However, he eventually composed himself and opened the letter. The blank page somewhat confused him, but he quickly felt a trace of mana shoot out towards his body before bouncing back to the letter itself.
The letter then started vibrating, Ensio’s voice booming out from within, “Richard, I’m on the brink of death. I cannot stay in the Deepblue any longer, come over as fast as you can. I have things to say to you. This is not a joke!”
Richard was stunned, both by the sudden request for his presence and even more so by the fact that someone as strong as Ensio was wounded lethally. Having fought multiple legendary beings now, he knew just how much of a freak Ensio was despite being a fresh legend himself.
As the mana ran out, Richard thought over things for only a minute before burning the paper to ashes, heading straight to Flowsand’s and telling her to go on without him before teleporting over to the Deepblue.
Two chairs and a table had been placed on the building’s terrace, with Ensio seated in his while sipping on some wine. Richard was somewhat surprised by the fact that the place had been repaired almost spotlessly, but he tried his best to ease his frown as he headed over and took his seat. It was impossible to suppress a shudder at the sight of Ensio, but he quickly composed himself and started scanning the surroundings.
This terrace had a perfect view of Floe Bay, the scene extremely stern and oppressive this deep into the winter. Piercing cold winds blew in from the sea, blowing so sharp that a commoner would quickly accumulate a number of tiny nicks all over their body. However, Ensio was wearing a robe so thin one would feel cold just by looking at him. He also had a mocking smile on his face, derision filling his eyes.
Richard’s response wasn’t any pleasant either. Although he knew this fellow had no bad intentions for Sharon, that didn’t mean he would forget the humiliation he had been put through in the presence of all the grand mages. If Ensio was hoping for him to come here as a junior student, he was ready to leave at any time.
“Not bad, not bad at all. It seems like you’ve grown a lot over the past year, at least you made the bare minimum of progress,” Ensio complimented as Richard sat down.
“Year?” Richard frowned.
“Come now, do you think only those of the Eternal Dragon can track the passage of time on a person?” The question immediately shut Richard up. This was a common belief among most Norlanders.
“I’m feeling nice today. Here’s some advice: if you truly plan to become a fearsome force, don’t rely on the support of others. You have to learn to analyse the laws you come across in the future yourself, and spacetime laws are amongst the most powerful you will meet. Don’t give up on studying those fields just because you have a priestess by your side.”
Richard understood Ensio’s point, but his brows still furrowed, “Flowsand hasn’t made me give up on anything. She will tell me everything I need to know.”
Ensio just smiled, “So everything she tells you is the truth?”
Richard’s expression immediately darkened, “She will never lie to me, Ensio.”
“Well, if you say so.” A faint smile was still hanging on Ensio’s face, “Then what if she’s wrong too? Do you really think a Chosen would know everything about the laws of time?”
Richard was rendered speechless once more. He knew it was impossible for a Chosen to understand the laws of their deity completely, lest they have any ideas about replacing their masters. They had natural advantages in the field, sure, but their limits were defined as well. Flowsand’s understanding of these laws was bound to be incomplete.
“Does anyone know everything about any law?” he eventually retaliated.
Ensio laughed, “A wonderful theory, but it’s only an excuse. Look at it from another point of view; even if everything this Flowsand says is correct, shouldn’t you be able to verify it yourself?”
“If this is why you called me over…” Richard said plainly.
“Of course not,” Ensio shrugged, “I was just reminding you not to be too dependant on the Church. This is common sense to any true powerhouse.”
“Thank you then. I’ll make sure to keep it in mind,” Richard said flatly.
“It’s none of my business what you do with my advice. Like I told you, I’m just in a good mood today. Now, let’s get to the matter at hand.”
Ensio didn’t follow up immediately, instead raising his glass and drinking slowly as he drummed his fingers on the table. He was staring towards the sea, but one couldn’t tell exactly what point he was focused on. It took him a long while to sigh and continue speaking, “Isn’t this a beautiful place? Just the sight of Floe Bay makes me want to stay.”
Richard turned his head towards the bay as well. He had seen this scene for five whole years, but the floating glaciers only seemed sombre and eerie in the winter. Despite his own affinity for art, he couldn’t understand just what Ensio meant by beautiful.
“Of course, you don’t see it yet,” Ensio said with a laugh, “Spend an eternity stuck without sight nor touch, then you’ll understand just how beautiful this place is. Those days in the Deepblue are what I cherish the most.
“Now… “ He directed his gaze back to Richard, “I know your relationship with Master is special, and you would do anything for her. But how much do you even know about her? Do you know what race she belongs to? Do you know why she established the Deepblue? Do you know the true significance of this place? Do you know of her enemies? Do you know of the real danger she faces?”
“I… don’t.” Richard was stunned. Apart from the Deepblue Aria, he didn’t really know more about Sharon than the ordinary mage.
Ensio looked at him with a complicated expression, “Sigh. You know nothing because she loved you the most of us all. She didn’t want to burden you with her problems, but… Well, I can’t tell you what she wouldn’t herself. Anyway, just know that bravery alone isn’t going to be enough to protect her. Her enemies had attacked recently, but I barely managed to drive them away. I only escaped the void rift by luck, but I can’t use much strength until I heal. I’ll need to go away to my origin, and the recovery process will be extremely long. You thought you could handle the Deepblue’s problems, didn’t you? Here’s your chance.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Gem
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA