Book 5, Chapter 83

Pride And Honour

Richard retained his calm demeanour, but his heart started thumping. Having fought Ensio before and seen him drive the Legion of Nightmares back through the summoning portal, he knew just how powerful this mage was. For him to almost be killed by someone…

But then again, only such powerhouses would qualify to become Sharon’s enemies. Considering her strength, she would decimate anyone weaker. However, that also meant the burden the Deepblue had to bear was much heavier as well. If even Ensio was taken out after one fight, what about the next ones? Who would come to their aid?

“I’ll… do my best,” was all he could bring himself to say.

“Then I wish you luck,” Ensio said with a sigh, “However, be wary of Voidbones. I did not injure him too greatly, so he might reappear soon. Alright, I have to leave. Being able to look at the beautiful bay truly is a blessing!” He stood up and looked over the Deepblue and Floe Bay once more before directly tearing space apart and stepping away.

Richard didn’t have the opportunity to witness Ensio’s arrival, so he was awed by the way the youth left. Even on the verge of death, he was utterly calm and could traverse the void! He stood on the terrace in silence for a few minutes, trying to appreciate the view of Floe Bay, but eventually just shook his head and walked down. He was not the same person as Ensio, and not all powerhouses were role models.

A few minutes later, all of the grand mages present were gathered in the meeting room. After being briefed on the functioning of the Deepblue over the past few months and ensuring they were ready for any crises— a process that took half a day because of the organisation’s size— he doubled his funding to eight million and made arrangements to recruit mages with talent in runecrafting. Leaving the professors with instructions to observe the movements of their major enemies like the duergar and werebeasts, he promised that his rune knights would always be ready to aid before turning to head upstairs.

However, one of the Deepblue’s mages suddenly rushed into the meeting hall, completely ignoring the grand mages as he shouted, “Lord Richard, there is a letter from the imperial family. It is top priority!”

Top priority? All of the grand mages started whispering amongst themselves, while Richard himself was stunned. Such wording was only used as a precursor to events as massive as full-scale wars. What was going on now that required such a message being sent to him?

Richard immediately took the letter from the mage and looked at it, examining the seal from the imperial family and ensuring it wasn’t a forgery. At the same time, a small burst of mana spread out from the letter and shone on his body, verifying his identity before turning into flames. The letter burnt up completely, forming a tiny orb of white light that floated between Richard’s brows.

Richard’s expression immediately froze.

“What is it?” Blackgold asked, unable to hold in his curiosity.

“The situation in the Land of Dusk has deteriorated. A lot of Daxdian powerhouses have entered the battlefield and their experts are spreading out. A number have tied down His Majesty in the Fort of Dawn, and there isn’t a clear winner in their battle just yet. Other powerhouses are rushing towards our three remaining fortresses to conquer them.”

“What?”

“Even worse, they know the City of the Unsetting Sun has the weakest defences of all. More and more of the Daxdians are targetting the place, and casualties are mounting. Rumours say a full third of the most powerful Daxdians have gathered in the Land of Dusk, and the other human empires are in great trouble as well. They cannot give us any aid.”

The Sacred Alliance was the youngest of the three human empires, and as such it also had the fewest experts. Having to occupy two entire fortresses, their defenders were stretched thin. The Daxdians were just probing for now, but once they were ready to commence the full attack they would certainly target the City of the Unsetting Sun. After all, they could move freely within the Land of Dusk; they would have no problems figuring out how strong each fortress was.

Overall, this wasn’t a problem. The three empires would be able to muster up enough powerhouses to keep Daxdus at bay. However, that did not guarantee a successful defence of the Unsetting Sun. This wasn’t a crisis for Norland on the whole, but it was a huge problem for the Sacred Alliance. If the situation got further out of hand, they would have to extend a call for help from the other races, including their nemeses in the elven empire of Lithgalen and the barbarians of Klandor. Traditionally, that would mean giving up a fortress to one of these countries!

While there was no monetary value in owning fortresses in the battlefields of despair, they were a benchmark for the powerhouses of each side. They were the source of the greatest pride and honour. The ancient elven empire that had spanned all of Norland had waned precisely because they had lost six fortresses in a battlefield of despair, dropping down to a single fort and portal. The blow to their reputation had been so great that the other fledgeling races finally stood up for themselves, declaring their independence.

The elves continued to condescend to the other races at first, but the humans formed an alliance that started multiple skirmishes on the elven borders. Slowly being eroded from without and within the plane, the empire finally had to agree to recognise the sovereignty of these races. They were given the right to participate in the battlefields of despair and win their own glory.

The various fledgeling races had flooded through the gates like a storm. Blood was spilt endlessly as they managed to regain stronghold after stronghold for Norland, this time keeping them for their own. The elvish empire quickly lost its foothold in that era where even those at level 16 fought fanatically and faded into obscurity.

Richard was being summoned as the royal runemaster to assist the war efforts. The Sacred Alliance hoped he could enter the City of the Unsetting Sun and support them with the best of his runecrafting abilities, crafting and repairing the runes of the powerhouses. With him around, the city’s strength would be boosted for the war to come.

The letter had come directly from Emperor Philip himself, with his unforgeable signature at the very bottom. Just that spoke volumes about how necessary his presence was.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo