Book 1, Chapter 92

Appetite Determines Power

A delicate-looking, lanky court official immediately bowed deeply, saying solemnly, “The chair is completely at fault! I’ll have it replaced right away! As for this thing with the audacity to shrink, it’ll be taken care of accordingly after it gets dragged away!”

Philip waved his enormous hand, “That’s not necessary right now. Eating is what matters most, it can wait until I finish my meal.” He held up a custom-made goblet, drinking about a bottle and a half’s worth of aperitif in a single gulf. Then, with another brief wave, all eight plates piled with appetizers were emptied into his bottomless pit of a mouth.

The maids immediately rushed in, skillfully clearing the empty plates before serving the main course one dish after the other. Judging simply from their nimble movements, it was clear that they were knights or assassins of at least level 4 or 5. While a dining table which could hold ten dishes at once may seem large, it merely appeared average in the Emperor’s presence. They then removed the silver lids off the next set of plates, revealing enormous steaks so raw they were still flush with blood. The origin of this meat was unknown, and even those who’d served here for more than three years couldn’t identify every type of meat. Although the edges of the plates were garnished with fresh flowers and a sauce, the steaks themselves were almost fully raw. Raw steak was the Emperor’s favourite dish.

Philip’s eyes lit up. Before digging in he threw a piece of ribeye steak mid-air, upon which that peculiar bird swooped down to catch the meal before taking it back to its own perch and pecking at it intently. The Emperor himself began to polish off kilograms of raw meat at an astonishing speed, one piece after the other. However it was strangely quiet when he ate, with barely any sound of chewing coming from his mouth. This piece of dining etiquette was the closest the Emperor came to fulfilling any sort of aristocratic manners. As for the massive bones in the steaks, they silently disappeared down the Emperor’s throat as if they were meat as well.

Another court official cleared his throat, and began to recount the past happenings in the day in a melodious voice. It was mainly about an important event that took place while the Emperor was sleeping at night. “The grey dwarves and their beast allies launched a sneak attack on the Thunder God’s Fort. Of course, they were fought off… As for your immediate territory of Munro, the first round of taxes were just levied, with the total being…

“The Archerons also held an internal trial last night—”

“Wait!” Philip swallowed a mouthful of meat with some difficulty, “What were you saying just now? Gaton killed his own son, Warren?” 

“That’s right!”

Phillip put down his fork and knife for once, and thought for a while before saying, “Seems like that Richard is an interesting character, Gaton should intend to let him become the successor. What do you know about Richard?” 

“He’s a personal apprentice of Sharon…”

“What?!” The Emperor spat out a mouthful of unchewed meat in response.

The court official was astonished as well. Yet, he waved his hand at once and maids flocked over to clear the mess on the table. At the same time, they passed down orders to the kitchen to prepare ten more portions of the main dish. This instantaneous reaction was enough to show his capabilities as a court official. 

Phillip coughed a little, spitting out another half-chewed bone before he breathed in, “Which Sharon are you talking about…”

The court official replied carefully, “The Alliance Guardian. You personally conferred the title upon her…”

The Emperor looked unsettled. He asked, “What has she been up to recently?”

Information about the legendary mage was obviously a priority for them. The court official was ready, replying immediately, “I heard Her Excellency has been exploring planes a lot recently. It’s been a long time since she returned to the Deepblue.”

It was only then that the Emperor looked slightly more at ease. He stopped eating for once, and looked at the entire table of steak before he said ruefully, “Oh dear, this woman… When she came looking for me back then, she actually wanted to compete with me in terms of appetite!”

“Your Majesty, you certainly claimed an overwhelming victory!” The court official immediately said. This was not entirely flattery.

The Emperor snorted, and said after a long time, “It was merely a small victory… no, in fact it was just a narrow one.”

“Your Majesty, you are truly a noble ruler to be able to hold the legendary mage down!” The court official pretended not to notice the Emperor’s tone and continued to praise him relentlessly.

“It was merely good luck back then. If she were to come again now, the outcome of the competition may not be the same anymore. Never underestimate the legendary mage, even if it is just in terms of appetite!” The Emperor chided.

“Certainly! Of course!” The court official repeatedly nodded in agreement.

Philip waved his enormous hand and said, “How about this, you can go prepare a ton of dragon’s rib steak later and give it to Richard in my name. Just say that these are extra meals for him!”

“One ton of dragon’s rib steak!” The court official inhaled sharply in an exaggerated manner, and politely expressed his objection, “Isn’t it a little too much for him to finish? We have less than a hundred tonnes total in the kitchen.”

Philip impatiently waved his enormous hand, “Just do as I say! Appetite determines power! Don’t tell me a young lad who caught Sharon’s eye can’t even finish this bit of food? But there really isn’t much stock left in the kitchen… Why don’t you think of ways to buy first, and get General Garmel to lead men on a hunt for a few more dragons. I don’t want green dragons, their meat is sour! He knows my taste!”

He then thought for a while before saying to the aged and thin vice minister of financial affairs who was on the other side, “Go to my treasury and see if there’s any tools there that can be used for self-defense. Take two of them and give them to Richard, together with the steak. It doesn’t have to be the best, as long as it is sufficient to make it clear that I am on their side. After all, Gaton is considered a member of royalty as well. We cannot let his new successor meet with any mishaps in Faust. Otherwise, those who create trouble for him should also need to pay a price for it.”

“How should we deal with Faulk, then?” the court official who came forward to report the matter inquired.

“Leave it to those old folks from the assembly, we shall not meddle. Let the Josephs and Archerons battle first!” 

Richard discovered after the trial that people were looking at him differently now. The hostility and disdain had faded, and whenever he was out the increase in the number of people taking the initiative to greet him was obvious. And they were all more respectful than before as well!

Additionally, he’d now been allocated a laboratory for his own use. He could craft elementary and grade 2 runes, performing experiments of a similar level as well. He was also assigned two assistants, and three people to help run errands. At the same time, Gaton had also delegated four young and rather powerful knights as a reference for Richard to study his own creation of rune knights.

It was barely past lunchtime. Less than two hours since he’d been notified of the laboratory, Richard was already rushing towards the place. Magic held far greater of an attraction to him than the Archeron surname.

With how small the island was, the laboratory was a short walk from his residence. It was one of only three, all built on the fringes of the island for the sake of safety, and was protected by two magic ballista towers. This way, the island was protected from external enemies. At the same time, in the event that an explosion took place in the laboratory, the extent of damage could also be minimized.

The laboratory was a three-storey building that took up little space. The first floor was an administrative and leisure area, meant for the assistants and servants. The second was a storehouse for magic materials, while the third was his actual workplace.

But as he set foot on the third level and entered the laboratory, Richard’s brows creased together at once. Even with all three floors together this place still wasn’t as large as his laboratory in the Deepblue. The sign engraved on a corner of the desk suggested that this was a product of dwarven make, built with refined gold about thirty years ago. As far as normal magic laboratories went, this place was above average. However, the one Richard had been using in the Deepblue had been designed exclusively three hundred years ago, by a now-extinct dwarven kingdom. There were few of its kind in the world.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA