Book 7, Chapter 11

Politics

Richard shook his head with pity as he put Moonlight back into the sword case; even he hadn’t expected no one to take up the offer. However, Beye actually frowned a little at him, “You know, every saint is a part of the Alliance. We don’t have all that many sky saints, why drive everyone into a corner? Especially at this stage…”

The words “this stage” were thought-provoking, hinting at something far more dangerous being on the horizon. He wanted to ask her what it was, but now wasn’t the time so he nodded, “He seemed to be from the Turing Family, was provoking the mob the entire time. He’s probably here because of his family, and there should be others.”

“Hmm… That should be Gary, the Blackiron Eagle. I heard he isn’t too far from breaking through.” There were few sky saints in the Alliance, so most had at least heard of each other if not met. This held true even for a maniac like Beye.

“Then I’ll watch. Not like him advancing is much of a threat; if he makes another move against me, I’ll kill him whether he’s a sky saint or a legend,” Richard answered calmly. Those who hadn’t yet dispersed felt a chill down their spines, quickening their steps.

“So, what’s the plan?” Agamemnon spoke up after the crowd left.

“The moon’s already integrated into my bloodline, I can’t hand it over if I wanted to. Anyone who wants to take it will have to kill me first.”

The taciturn youth nodded and said nothing helse. Knowing Richard’s stand was enough; all he had to do was support his friend.

Nyris thought things over for a moment, “Richard, it’s not smart to be this hard in your stance either. Everyone needs some pretext to ease up; I think it’s best to hand the dispute over to the assembly for resolution according to law.”

Agamemnon nodded. The assembly technically wielded great power, but in the end most of that power was concentrated in the hands of the upper families anyway. It was nearly impossible for them to actually reach decisions, only doing so a handful of times in a decade at best, but there was no lack of small nobles there who were still immersed in their fantasies of achieving instant success based on ideology. The most use the place served normally was as a mask for people to cease hostilities, like in the current case.

Richard wasn’t as good at politics as his friends, but he managed to catch on to their meaning after some thought. His eyes glowed as he smiled at Nyris, “Get me a few people then, minor nobles who are eloquent and won’t shut up. Eight hours a day, every day, for a month.”

Nyris flashed a dirty smile, “You learn fast.”

The most important part of any assembly meeting was the debate, but it was just a bunch of idle nobles quarrelling in public. They could be talking about anything or nothing at all; these people just liked to make speeches. There was no winner or loser in these debates; even if one side was at a disadvantage, they could shift the goalposts or distort logic to win. If all else failed, they could merely ignore the opponent’s points entirely. Anyone who spent a majority of their time here was extremely thick-skinned.

Richard planned to just hog the platform. So long as those representing him dragged out any possibility of discussing the blue moon for a while, the bloodlust in Faust would die down and everyone would return to their senses. If that failed, he could also use the time to amass troops. He laughed at Nyris’s compliment, “You’re still the best of us at politics.”

“Politics…” Nyris immediately grew dull, muttering the word repeatedly before turning to Richard, “I’ll be going.”

Before Richard could even respond, he had flashed away and disappeared into the teleportation temple without even picking his axe up from the ground. Agamemnon and Beye turned gloomy as well.

“What’s wrong with him?” Richard asked with a frown.

Agamemnon didn’t answer, but Beye did, “It’s for him to say, but you’ll find out soon enough.”

Richard nodded and got ready to leave, but a hand on his shoulder turned him around. Beye looked him up and down as a thoughtful smile crept onto her face, “So… Invincible under the legendary realm, huh?”

He looked at Beye with his eyes aglow, chuckling in acknowledgement.

“Come to the Land of Dusk; we can spar for a few days,” she smiled.

“I’d… Sigh, I’d love to, but… If only I had the time.” Longing was written all over Richard’s face.

Beye could understand his situation. The Archerons were currently expanding very quickly, and as the patriarch he couldn’t afford to be absent for any length of time. Just nodding in understanding, she and Agamemnon left for their island while he returned to his own.

The moment he stepped out of the portal, Richard’s expression turned blank. The small plaza was bursting to the seams with knights and warriors who were armed to the teeth, infantrymen standing right beside rune knights and even the teenage squires ready for battle. There was a desolate aura surrounding the place, but the killing intent felt almost tangible. Right next to the square, Tiramisu was sound asleep with Waterflower snoring right on top of his large body; they were optimising themselves for a battle to the death.

“What are you doing?” Richard asked dumbly, bringing all gazes onto him. The plaza went dead silent for a moment before everyone erupted into wild cheers, the scarred knight actually rushing forward and hugging him before realising he was overstepping his bounds. There were a few others who did the same, before everyone started throwing him into the sky.

Even if he was supposedly invincible below the legendary realm, Richard was truly frightened by the mass of muscular men who were starting to throw him around in celebration. A leader of men was classically supposed to be more distant from his men, shouting things like “I return!” or “We Archerons will never fall!”, but the situation was nothing like that.

“What do you all want? Damn it, let go of me, whose hand was that?!” his irate voice resounded from between the sea of steel, but he was completely lost within it.

“What happened?” Waterflower asked even in the midst of her sleep.

“Go see,” Tiramisu grunted.

“You have three eyes!” she complained.

“I have one and he has two!” Medium Rare protested, but Tiramisu reluctantly awakened a little and immediately sensed Richard’s presence, “Oh, they’re celebrating Master’s return… Wait. Waterflower, get up, we don’t need to fight!”

“What? But I would have been ready in an hour…” the young lady grumbled.

Richard finally broke away from the sea of soldiers; or rather, he was let go after all of the rune knights had hugged him. Blinking hard to suppress the faint heat in his eyes, he shouted, “Were you planning on disobeying orders?”

”Of course not, my Lord! We would wait until you were… hehe!” The scarred knight chuckled. They would execute all of his orders to the letter, but he truly hadn’t told them what to do if he died. These men would likely have filled Faust with blood until the last of them fought to his death.

Richard felt a little emotional; while most of his rune knights were rather new, those stationed in both Blackrose and the island itself were the most loyal of the lot. This was an army of knights that would march by his side even into death. He waved a hand and declared coldly, “Everything’s solved now, send thirty knights back to Blackrose for garrison. We don’t want a raid there.”

He then cut across the square and flew towards the castle, all the Archerons saluting him along the way. This was normally just etiquette, but today everyone was doing it with the utmost sincerity. The Shepherd of Eternal Rest flew over to Waterflower as he made his way past the still-sleeping pair, heading back to the top floor of the castle to get some rest.

The battles hadn’t lasted long, but they had drained an enormous amount of energy. While he wasn’t significantly hurt yet, every activation of the blue flames had drawn enough mana to power a grade 8 spell. Thankfully, it also had enormous power even in its infancy; as his understanding of this ability grew, so would its might.

Patting the sleeping Mountainsea and starting to meditate, he saw the four celestial bodies orbiting his bloodline; astral energy, the origin energies of the Land of Dusk and Forest Plane, as well as the blue moon he had recently acquired. Wisps of power were constantly being pulled from these sources and fused into his bloodline and mana pool, everything extremely smooth.

Unfortunately, the might of the blue moon came at a cost. It occupied an enormous section of space around his bloodline all to itself, making it much more difficult to map out a fifth orbit. After trying for a few minutes, he estimated he would need at least a year to accomplish it.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA