Book 5, Chapter 98

The Big Picture

The grand mage immediately stopped the spell. Even an instant cast required drawing on one’s mana, but Richard had used that short interval to grab him. Held in the air, feeling his skin continue to burn away, he realised that his life was in Richard’s hands.

In mere moments, Richard had seized a grand mage under the eyes of two saints and a legend. All three could only watch wide-eyed at the sheer humiliation as Richard lifted the mage higher into the air, his voice now laced with threat, “You thought I wouldn’t dare to act? Master Hasting, how do you plan on handling Blacklight?”

Contrary to Richard’s expectations, Hasting just laughed. His wrinkled face seemed to radiate danger as well, but the legendary mage known for his temper seemed to take no offense. His sagging purple brows lifted in interest, “What do you think?”

Richard went silent, knowing exactly how biological experiments worked. He had studied some basics in the Deepblue, and the Schumpeter lab in the Forest Plane had been adequate demonstration of how test subjects were treated.

With Hasting having revealed his intentions, Richard faced the grand mage once more, loosening his grip and dropping the mage to the ground, “What if I refuse the requisition?”

The grand mage sputtered and coughed as he rubbed his throat in pain, looking furiously at Richard, “Even if you…”

However, that sentence stopped right there. Feeling the bloodlust radiating from Richard and looking at his two companions who were almost shivering in fright, he forced himself to give way, “If you disagree, we can decide it by vote at a council meeting. If two-thirds of the council is in favour of the requisition, it will be forced.”

Richard nodded, “Then convene a meeting.”

The grand mage looked straight at Hastings, “Your Excellency, do you agree?”

Richard just glanced at Hasting, “Master Hasting, I advice you not to lay a finger on Blacklight before a meeting is called.”

Hasting looked at Richard once more, revealing a smile that would send shivers down one’s spine, “Of course, I don’t mind waiting. Hehe, I’ll have all the time in the world to slowly experiment on him.”

Richard didn’t say anything, walking straight out and towards the Sunset Shrine as his mood turned worse. Given the current circumstances, he already knew what the results of the council discussion would be. Sometimes, wisdom wasn’t a great blessing to have.

A few minutes later, a loud bell rang throughout the City of the Unsetting Sun. All of the powerhouses looked towards the church area in shock, knowing that an immediate meeting was being called. Were there more enemies?

Currently patrolling the upper sections of the fortress, Marshal Rundstedt was shocked. His brows furrowed as he thought of something, and he muttered under his breath before heading out. In another part of the city, Lawrence’s expression warped as he sighed and finished the operation he was working on, hurrying towards the church.

Ten minutes later, the ten most powerful people in the City of the Unsetting Sun had been gathered at the round table. With everyone present, the grand mage who was a part of the Marshal’s guard briefly explained the situation before heading out. He had no right to stay in the Sunset Shrine.

A minute passed in silence before the members present started discussing things in a low voice. This dispute was the first of its kind; many requisitions had been carried out in the city before, but Marshal Rundstedt had always been extremely just while applying this authority and handed out compensation worth more than the value of the expropriated goods.

As he heard the low murmurs, Richard raised his hand and barely waited for the Marshal’s approval before speaking with a low voice, “How exactly are living beings now considered assets? So much so that the motherfucker that just went out said one can requisition my women as they please? Here I am, risking my life to kill an entire barracks of Daxdians, and I come back to find the demon captured has been considered an asset and whisked away. Why the fuck should I fight this war for you if you’re just going to fuck me over?”

Although Richard was cursing, nobody stood out to criticise him. This was the first time most of those present had heard of the issue, and they were still working their heads around it. Many of them were surprised at Richard’s reaction over a mere demon, but others could understand his anger. This wasn’t so much about the demon as it was about dignity and the fact that such a law could be abused greatly. No matter the results of this upcoming vote, the grand mage would be forced to apologise and perhaps be punished for his words.

Lawrence, who had specifically chosen to sit beside Richard, smiled wryly and pulled back Richard’s hand, “Cool down, kid. Listen to what the others have to say.”

Rundstedt nodded and stood up, “I want to clarify that requisition has a strict set of rules that disallow abuse. Intelligent beings can indeed be classified as assets, but that is only for those branded as slaves. However, that only applies to Norlanders. The Daxdians are an enemy plane, they have no rights in our system. For the sake of our families, countries, and even the entire plane, we must fight! Richard, your women can never be treated as an asset and taken from you; the one who said that to you will be punished appropriately and ousted from my guard.”

The Marshal’s voice was calm and steady, forcing Richard to cool off from his outburst. However, his heart started beating even faster as he saw what would come of this discussion. He could imagine just what horrors awaited the young demon in Hasting’s control, and knowing the legendary mage’s twisted personality he believed that Blacklight would be kept alive while suffering crucial pain for the rest of his existence. War was never merciful, but he couldn’t agree with such wanton brutality.

“I—”

“Hasting, why don’t you explain the value of this demon,” Rundstedt added before he could interrupt.

Hasting stood up and looked at Richard meaningfully, “This demon is a perfect youth who looks to be a royal even in the Dranicus tribe, approaching the upper echelons of Daxdian society. With ample time, I’ll be able to discover any fatal weaknesses the royal demons have, giving me the power to fight the Forbidden Eye on equal grounds. I promise to disclose my findings to everyone present, giving us a great advantage when dealing with all demons.”

This immediately caused a ruckus amongst those present. Forbidden Eye was a terrifying name, a demon that consumed Norland’s powerhouses to advance. He had power beyond his level, and even ten years ago when he vanished without a trace he was on the verge of reaching the legendary realm. While Hasting was a legendary mage as well, his power wasn’t even close, especially considering Forbidden Eye was very powerful against mages. If even someone like that would be able to fight such powerful demons equally, it could very well tip the scales in the Land of Dusk!

Richard’s expression darkened as he realised just how valuable Blacklight was to Hasting. It also put him in an extremely difficult position; there was no way for him to refute the fact that this requisition was useful to the cause.

However, he had once told Blacklight that he could be safe so long as he didn’t leave the house or do anything foolish. The youth had followed both rules perfectly, but he had still been caught.

In addition, he just couldn’t agree with any requisition whatsoever. Big picture? Who gave a fuck about the big picture? Couldn’t one use that as an excuse to do anything they wanted?

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo