Book 5, Chapter 107

The Essence Of A Rune

“So you’re helping out your friends, huh? What’s this, Her Excellency Dreambreaker is a friend of yours now? And she can’t afford to get her own runes fixed?” Lawrence scoffed.

“That one I’m doing for money, it’s safe to have a bit for the journey.”

“Journey?”

Just having finished the repair, Richard smiled and stretched, “I’m going to the Fort of Dawn. Don’t you think that place suits me better?”

“You what?! That place doesn’t even have a fully functioning barrier yet! No, no way! It’s too dangerous, the Daxdians just left and they could attack at any time! The City of the Unsetting Sun is much better!”

“I like dangerous places,” Richard remarked as he put the rune in a case.

“Don’t bullshit me kid, you just don’t like it here!” Lawrence sighed with exasperation.

“Perhaps,” came a soft reply.

The old man grew serious, “Richard, Rundstedt might be stubborn but he is fair. He’s a good man.”

Richard turned around to look Lawrence in the eye, “I don’t blame him for his choices, but there’s just no way I can live in the same city as Hasting. The Marshal made his choice, so now I’m making mine.”

“But—”

“There’s no such thing as the best of both worlds. Rundstedt’s decision has its consequences, just like it would for anyone else. Besides, I really do think the Fort of Dawn suits me better. I would rather live with a threat to my life than one to my dignity.”

Lawrence sighed, pouting as he turned around.

“Will you come with?” Richard suddenly asked.

“No, kid. I’ve lived here for so many years, I’m accustomed to the place. I’ll just spend the rest of my life here.”

“Then I’ll visit you often.”

“Alright…” Lawrence suddenly thought of something and grinned, “But what about the favour you owe me?”

Richard immediately became uneasy, feeling a certain amount of fear in the face of the scheming grin, “What is it?”

“I just wanted to give you a farewell gift, why are you so scared?” the old man snorted, running out and coming back with a dusty magic-sealing case.

Richard stared at it for a second, resisting the urge to clean the thing with magic as he opened it up. However, his brows immediately rose in suspicion as he saw the more than dozen runes within. They were all intricate and well-made with low requirement on capacity, but Lawrence’s sheepish smile only made this case that was worth a top-tier offering look like a trap.

He picked out one of the runes to examine and decode them, his gaze slowly blanking out as he continued to study the individual arrays. He had never seen some of these arrays before, and couldn’t even imagine their effects or how they would function together. “This is…”

“It can do so many things. See, this part can increase the user’s speed a bit, and this one can…” Lawrence started to drool a little as he listed a dozen functions, only leaving Richard even more confused. Standard runes were designed to greatly boost a few aspects of their bearers, but this one flew right in the face of that logic. Every function that was layered on compromised the usefulness of the thing, dropping its worth immensely. The only saving grace was that this rune could be used by almost anyone.

As he approached the end of his explanation, Lawrence grew more and more excited, “Also, it can be used to paralyse the user when this function is activated. Hehehe…

“This array is the key to everything. Modify this bit, patch these three things here, and then activate it with your bloodline and a soul fragment. It will immediately restrict itself to your usage. This other bit also locks the rune to the bearer, stopping its removal by anyone but yourself. Any other runemaster trying to dismantle the rune will cause great pain and permanently wound the bearer. There’s no need to remove it either; a true powerhouse doesn’t need the extra capacity, and those who really care about it would be incompetent either way.”

The old man’s explanation was rather bizarre, but Richard immediately froze up as he understood just how powerful those last two functions were. They truly were worthy of being called the masterpiece of a saint runemaster, and he could already think of dozens of ways to incorporate them into his own works. He eventually went into a daze, casually absorbing Lawrence’s teachings as he thought up an entire new line of runes.

“Old man, th—”

“No, no, no. I told you, just do me a small favour.” Lawrence took out a crumpled piece of paper from his chest pocket, the same one that contained the names of women from fifty years ago. However, a few new names had been added this time, also from that era.

“If you really want to thank me, put these runes on people. It’s best if it can be some of these women here, but anyone will do. That lass Waterflower will be a good start!” The old man was smiling from ear to ear.

“Umm…. Alright, I’ll try my best.” Richard stuffed the paper into his pocket.

Lawrence immediately squealed with delight, starting to pat Richard on the shoulder. However, a deep voice interrupted his joy, “Master Richard, are you present?”

“Hmm? Ah, yes! Come in!” Richard immediately took the chance to slip away, watching as two of the Marshal’s personal guard entered the courtyard with each carrying a huge chest.

Richard recognised one of the two to be amongst those who had participated in the requisition of Blacklight, but he didn’t say a word. As humiliating as that incident was, he wouldn’t stoop to blaming those who only followed orders. For his part, the warrior was extremely respectful as well, bowing deeply despite the load. Part of that was because of the spectacle of a grand mage being seized by the throat while under the protection of a legendary mage and two saint warriors, but the major reason was Richard’s sheer kill count in the battle against the Daxdians.

The warrior handed him a list, “Master Richard, the compensation for fighting in the war has been tabulated. This is what remains after deducting the costs of maintaining the public warehouse and the Eternal Glory formation. Please take a look.”

Richard browsed through the long list that described a total of 87 lesser offerings, totalling to a net worth of about 3 top-tier offerings. Nodding in approval, he dismissed the warriors and returned to work.

The list was a testament to his power; he was the highest paid warrior of the city, only slightly behind Beye and a few other sky saints. By this point, more than half of the saints in the City of the Unsetting Sun revered him like no other.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hazel

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA