Book 6, Chapter 81

Hope

Once the Book of Holding merged with the other pages of the unnamed holy book, there was another page with the creation rune atop it. At this point, he knew that these pages could store creatures for him to summon, the specific creature dependent on the type of energy he poured into the book. These creatures could be summoned only into the page and pulled out whenever necessary, although from the looks of it there was a limit to the energy the book could transfer; after level 16, it took an enormous amount of energy and the power of his truename to strengthen the creature further. However, there was an alternative: he could now summon more creatures with the excess energy instead.

This immediately clued him in to the fact that Martin hadn’t summoned so many divine warriors with his power alone. The Church of Glory had likely spent decades constantly adding energy to the book and strengthening it, but all that had been wasted.

Considering his options, he decided to use the power of Schloan and put two elven shamans on the page. Each was level 17, and halfway between mages and priests they were a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. With two of them, it was equivalent to giving two hundred of his knights a single level’s boost to their abilities.

It was only when he closed the book that he realised he had another problem— it was extremely bulky. He’d gotten the sword case built just so he wouldn’t have to carry three swords and a staff wherever he went, but now he would have this enormous book instead. Still, that was only a minor annoyance compared to the benefits it could bring.

Having done all he could for now with the holy book, Richard immediately turned to the map in his study and studied it silently for a long time. There were a number of things for him to do, but he didn’t have nearly enough time. The map showed all the worlds that mattered to him in various levels of detail: Norland including Klandor, Faelor, the Forest Plane, the Resting Orchid Plane, and those of Asiris and Cyrden.

He thought over it for a while before deciding that he would work on the Forest Plane next. The Tree of Life was likely close to levelling up at this point, and that would be a perfect opportunity to analyse the laws of life. He felt like he now had the ability to repel any enemies that would hinder the Tree’s advancement.

After making his decision, he sent a letter to Nyris and Agamemnon to have them prepare. The very next day, Phaser, Waterflower, Tiramisu, and Mountainsea would follow him to the Forest Plane and join up with the elite troops that Agamemnon and Nyris had already prepared. They would take another leap forward in their control of this plane.

However, he had one important thing to do before he left. Learning that Nyris was unavailable for some time, he would have to go to the Royal Mage Association to alert them of an impending rune convention. All rune conventions in Faust required the approval of the royal family, and it would normally go through the Association instead of a prince. His connections from the beginning had just simplified this step to the point that he didn’t need to do it himself.

He had already sent word that he would be arriving, so two grand mages rushed forth to welcome him the moment he entered the grand hall, “Master Richard, His Excellency Thor is already waiting for you.”

“Hmm?” Richard was a little confused, “It’s only a rune convention, why was there a need to alarm the Chairman?”

The mage on the left smiled, “Your runes are something the entire country looks forward to. His Excellency hopes to offer you the best of hospitality.”

“I’m truly humbled. Please, lead the way.” Richard followed the two grand mages all the way to the top floor of the Association.

Registering a rune convention with the Royal Mage Association wasn’t just a formality. Once it was registered, the Association would take care of most logistical issues so the runemaster themselves wouldn’t have to. They would arrange for the best available hall to hold the convention in, and also send out invites to the powerhouses of the plane. Unlike the young Richard, they had an expansive network of connections that could guarantee that anyone who might be interested in the invite and had the qualifications would receive one. They would also tailor their invites to the runemaster’s calibre as well; Lunor’s conventions barely attracted legends anymore, while Richard’s most recent one had attracted a decent number.

Richard remained silent as he walked up with the two mages— teleportation was forbidden inside these walls and the automatic defences would destroy most mages foolish enough to try. He had known that the Association would grow interested in him at some point, but he was still a little unsure about this degree of respect. As a mage he wasn’t all that powerful; most of his combat ability came from him mixing melee and magic.

This was the first time he had set foot in Thor’s office, and it instantly felt like he had somehow ended up in Lithgalen instead. All around him was soft green grass giving way to large fruit trees with flower vines wrapped all around them. It was like something out of a fairy tale, with a small river wiggling through the woods and pouring into a beautiful sapphire lake. Parasols, tables, and chairs had been set up on the shore, with elven servants shuttling around to put fresh fruit and good wine on the table.

A balding, fat old man stood up from his chair, stretching out both arms in welcome, “Mister Richard, welcome!”

Richard didn’t dare look down on the funny-looking fellow; Thor was someone with a solid reputation, and outside of being the Chairman of the Royal Mage Association he was also Emperor Philip’s uncle. This was someone with pure royal blood running through his veins, which meant both status and power. The lightning destroyer bloodline descended from that of ancient titans, making it extremely potent.

Thor himself was a legendary mage that was very skilled at lightning magic. Combined with his bloodline ability, he could drown his enemies in a lightning storm that was impossible to block.

Not in any rush to exchange pleasantries just yet, Richard continued paying attention to the surroundings for a moment as he tried to reconcile the feeling of wrongness he felt. This place was even larger than Sharon’s private space in the Deepblue, but that was impossible; at this point, he knew that his master was likely the strongest mage in all of Norland. It was only when checking it with Insight that he finally saw all the green fading away, the tall sky and white clouds vanishing to show that the sun was just a huge fireball hung a hundred metres into the sky. The place was about twenty square kilometres in size, and half of it was floating in mid-air.

“Ah, forgive me,” he shook his head in apology, “This… Your semiplane is sitting right on top of Norland?”

Thor smiled ever so slightly before returning to nonchalance and laughing, “You might just be the first youth below the legendary realm who managed to see the truth of this place! Looks like Philip was right; you’re gifts aren’t particularly frightening, but you’re still quite the talent. Come, show me the rune you want to reveal this time; I can hardly wait!”

Richard smiled and took out a rough design of Mana Armament, passing it over to Thor who started reading through it.

“Mana Armament, eh… It’s a unique name, but where have I heard it before… Ooh, grade 4! You really are something, already a grand runemaster… Wait,” the old man suddenly jumped up from his seat, “It can transform mana into internal energy?!”

“Umm, not really… But it’s something very similar. Besides, not every mage can use it. You need a very powerful physique…” Richard explained patiently.

Thor waved his short arms violently, “But it’s a saint’s power! You can just improve your physique by eating, so long as it can be transformed into a saint’s level of energy people will be willing to eat anything. In fact, if it was beyond the level of saints I’m sure some would be ready to eat an entire dragon!”

Richard didn’t know how to respond to that statement. If one was strong enough to eat an entire dragon, would they really need Mana Armament?

Thor suddenly slapped himself in the forehead, drawing a spell formation in mid-air to form the image of another world, “Kenny, you old bastard, get over here immediately! I don’t care which broken world you’re in, you’ll regret being a second late! I got what you want!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA