The capital of the Unsetting Sun wasn’t very far from the portal, but just like any other expert Richard snaked around to eliminate as many Daxdians as he could. His sack grew heavier and heavier over the next few days, and when it finally became a significant burden he made a beeline for the gates.
The city was much more lively than he had ever seen in the past, more than twice the number of people walking around in a hurry. There was a general tone of worry amongst the residents, with most being armed to the teeth.
Richard headed straight to the top of the city, entering a large trading hall that sold all kinds of valuable offerings and rare materials. Unlike other highly profitable auction houses, the profit margins of this market were extremely low. On many occasions, they even bought and sold at a loss. Many major families of the Sacred Alliance had banded together to fund this market’s working, and its main purpose was to support the warriors in the City of the Unsetting Sun.
The interior hall of the market building was a thousand square metres in area, but normally there were only a handful of clients at any given time. Only powerful saints or beings of otherwise high status could transact in here, and it was manned by a gnome with a great eye for appraisal.
“Hey!” Richard walked within the interior hall and smiled familiarly, handing the gnome the box with the ursa penis.
“Oh, Richard! I hear you’ve been off in planar wars again? Good, good, it’s nice for the youths to spend their lives between greenery and beautiful women instead of a place like this. At least we’re fighting normal people in most invasions, not these ugly monsters…” The gnome wiped his monocle clean as he squeaked on and on, in no hurry as he donned his gloves and opened the enchanted case.
Richard calmly took a step back, a quick spell forming a localised barrier around his face. This allowed him to avoid the putrid smell that immediately wafted out from within. The gnome’s face turned green before he sneezed loudly, and the other patrons of the hall started glaring in Richard’s direction. There was only one thing they knew that smelled so atrocious.
The gnome quickly recovered himself, maintaining a professional demeanour as he opened the box and carefully inspected the penis within. He even took a deep breath of the rancid odour to confirm the quality.
There were grave consequences from that decision. The gnome immediately slammed the case shut and rushed away, before hurling sounds rang out from the nearby toilet.
It was around then that Richard saw a skinny silhouette popping into the hall from the corner of his eye. The new entrant sniffed only once before turning around and bounding away. His brows lifted up in confusion; why was Lawrence escaping?
A long while later, the gnome returned to the desk with a pale expression on his face. He cast a dozen purifying spells to rid himself of the odour before speaking up, “Not bad, not bad at all! Perfect extraction, and the specimen is great too. What do you want in exchange?”
Richard handed the gnome a list, “Three sets of these materials, have them sent to my place.”
As the gnome scanned through the list, a smile rose upon his face, “Ha, you’re crafting another Lifesbane? We’ll show those monsters this time!”
“Yes, it’s the best rune for the current situation.”
“Make some more if you can. It’s best if we cut off all the ursa dicks we can!”
“Haha, I’ll be su—”
“Lord Richard!” a messenger suddenly rushed into the hall, “Pardon my interruption, Marshal Rundstedt requests your presence at the council tonight.”
“Hmm? Alright, I’ll be there.” Richard sent the messenger off before bidding farewell to the gnome and walking out. A lot of people greeted him warmly along the way, expressing their hope for him to craft as many runes as he could in this time. Mages and runemasters were the two most respected professions in the eve of large wars, and Richard was both.
It wasn’t long before the clock chimed to signify the evening. When Richard entered the Sunset Shrine, he realised everyone else was already present. It also looked like they had been waiting for quite some time.
Richard was rather surprised and almost embarrassed, but he quickly realised just how important this meeting would be. He had arrived a minute earlier than the set time, and for everyone else to be waiting impatiently showed just how anxious they were.
Marshal Rundstedt seemed to be ten years older than the last time Richard had seen the man, sunken eyes and wrinkles betraying the veteran legend’s exhaustion. He nodded in Richard’s direction and motioned to the empty seat before calling the meeting to order.
“The current situation is far grimmer than the recall order paints it out to be,” the Marshal started off, immediately causing whispers to sound in the hall. There wasn’t any fear in those present, but they certainly grew solemn, “We thought the Daxdians would spend time probing all three strongholds before committing to a full attack on the City of the Unsetting Sun, but all signs indicate that large numbers are gathering in our direction. The attack on the two other forts was only a diversion, and we need to be prepared for imminent war.”
Rundstedt waved his hand, activating a three-dimensional map of the city before sending out eight virtual fireballs around the vicinity, “These are the directions in which we have lost our squads over the past week. Three were even heading towards the other fortresses, but there were no survivors. None of the scouts have been able to make it back either. The Daxdians have already encircled us completely, and are prepared to flood in!”
As they heard the Marshal’s deep and solemn voice, everyone present understood that the paths to the three other fortresses had been blocked off. They were now alone.
“What is the plan?” someone asked.
“My suggestion is to give up on the outer circle of the city and pull all our troops back. The Church has promised its assistance with an Eternal Glory formation, so we can lure them in before destroying all of them! The Daxdians definitely cannot sustain such a large-scale assault for any length of time; so long as we hold the portals, victory will be ours.”
A level 20 mage gasped involuntarily, while Richard was taken aback as well. The Eternal Glory formation was a spell that constantly blazed with purifying light, severely injuring agents of darkness and chaos. Weaker undead would even evaporate into thin air. Such a formation would strengthen the defences tenfold.
“I am sure everyone here is well aware of the high cost required to operate the Eternal Glory formation; our harvests from the aftermath will be halved in exchange. Any objections? No? Good. Now, Master Richard, what runes can you support us with?”
“I’ll have a Lifesbane ready in the next few days,” Richard commented, causing all of the powerful warriors in the hall to buzz. They all knew that Richard could craft Lifesbane, but that rune was always grabbed from the market the moment it was created; there was no chance for them to buy one before. Now that there would be an opportunity to use it, everyone was excited at the prospect. This was especially true for those who depended on speed and power in battle.
Rundstedt’s face started glowing as well, but he restrained his enthusiasm and spoke with a dull tone, “You should know the current situation is unfavourable. We have no way of paying an exorbitant price for such runes, we can only buy from you at market price.”
With a big fight approaching, Lifesbane runes could sell for a higher price than ordinary grade 4 runes. The fortress just didn’t have the resources to buy such a rune in bulk.
“Half the market price is good enough,” Richard said softly, “I can even take payment in materials if that is easier for you.”
The Marshal stared deeply at Richard, “The Sacred Alliance will remember your contribution!”
Five days later, a Lifesbane rune was dropped off at Rundstedt’s desk. Richard also picked up five million gold in crafting materials. Everyone thought he was losing a million or two for every rune he crafted, but in truth his manufacturing costs were only three million gold right now. The only reason he hadn’t quoted a lower price was to keep his own material costs secret from the public.
After putting the materials in his room, Richard stowed his pen away before heading straight for Lawrence’s small shop. Every time he crafted Lifesbane, he needed some time to relax and dissolve the pure murderous intent that he accumulated in the process.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA