Duke Orleans continued to speak, “Julian was the First Princess’s head guard. He was only a saint back then, and he didn’t have any significant potential either, but somehow he’s become powerful even for a legendary being… I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; nobody can stay in the Outlands for so long without growing powerful.”
“And why did all of the leaders choose His Majesty instead of her, especially if she was more talented?” Richard had started suspecting some of the reasons for the general hostility towards Apeiron by this point, but he still wanted to be sure.
The Duke smiled wistfully, “Because everyone was afraid of her.”
“Princess Apeiron was one of the biggest prodigies of the entire human race, lacking any need to temper herself as she shot towards the stars like a comet. She began understanding laws the moment she entered sainthood, and there were multiple instances of legendary beings falling at her hands even then. However, she was also insane and moody; her only hobby was destruction. Her solution to any problem was to just kill both sides of an argument. She often said she was reducing the number of fights that way.”
Richard went silent. Even though he was a supposed madman himself, he understood that such a person on the throne would be a disaster for the entire Sacred Alliance. However, it brought up a new set of questions; just what could convince a lunatic to obediently go into exile? Why did she let the royal family and the fourteen eliminate all traces of her existence and bury her very memory alive?
And now, decades later, the First Princess who had scared everyone suddenly snuck back just as Philip gave up his throne. In the political world, coincidence and conspiracy were often two sides of the same coin. At the same time, as they continued talking a little more, he just couldn’t ascribe to the idea that a hot-headed warrior would hatch such a meticulous plan.
When he eventually left the Orleans island, Richard headed straight to the Mage Association. The building contained the largest and most complete library in all of Faust; Thor wasn’t the strongest of legendary mages, but he was certainly one of the most wealthy.
The dark circles under the cheery old man’s eyes betrayed his heavy heart. He barely forced a smile as he saw Richard, “You’re draining me dry with all of your Mana Armaments.”
Richard responded with a warm smile of his own, “Not funny at all, but no, I’m not here to sell this time. Chairman, could I perhaps look through your library for a bit?”
“What books are you looking for?” Thor asked even as he summoned a young mage to lead Richard to the library.
“Any information about the Outlands,” Richard answered.
“The Outlands?!” Thor stood up, waving the mage away and staring Richard in the eye, “Is it related to Her Highness?”
“I just want to know more about her. There’s almost no information to be found, but it looks like we’ll be dealing with her regularly in the future.”
“Sigh. Come with me, I have a detailed book.” Thor led Richard into his semiplane, putting up a barrier to isolate it completely from Norland, “Are you planning to stop her?”
Richard smiled bitterly, “I don’t even know her, what can I stop? Unfortunately, I don’t really have any way to interfere either; I’m not a duke yet.”
Leading Richard to a three-storey building deep in the semiplane, Thor pulled out a thick book from a dusty box and handed it over, “Take this, you can spend your time looking at it. But remember to return it to me, the book itself is much more valuable than the content. It was written by hand by a famous legendary mage.”
Richard nodded and turned to leave, but Thor called out to him, “Richard, Her Highness Apeiron is still the blood of the royal family and a member of the Sacred Alliance. She is also the only one capable of solving some of our current problems; we should look at the big picture.”
The statement itself was a little ambiguous, but the implications were clear. With the legendary mage sealing his lips immediately afterwards and refusing to answer questions, Richard left.
The moment Richard was gone, a silhouette flashed right next to Thor, revealing an old mage looking at the departure with a complicated gaze. The old man sighed, “The aura of the blue moon is almost completely integrated into him; if one doesn’t pay attention, it’s hard to find. He truly was the one it was destined for.”
Thor nodded, “It’s merged into his bloodline, you should give up on any ideas you have for it. The kid is murderous and vengeful, Julian provoked him and was almost killed by offerings.”
The old mage sighed and nodded with hesitation, “That moonforce was important to me, but… Oh well, I have nothing to do in Norland now. I’ll be leaving for the new coordinates I found last time.”
Thor frowned, “But the fortresses need powerhouses to guard them. You’re good at fighting, can’t you think about it again?”
The old mage smiled, “You aren’t paying enough. If you want me to act like a sellsword, then you need to offer something good.”
“But you’re also a member of the Alliance. This is a moment of crisis, how can you just let it go?”
“Thor, don’t try this with me. Since it’s such a critical moment, why don’t you go to the fortress yourself? Are you not a legendary mage?”
Thor’s face went red, “But I’m always doing research! I’m not good at battle!”
“But you’re still a legendary mage; you won’t lose to a grand mage.”
“If you want to fool people into manning the fortresses, then offer more benefits. Your price is only worthy of a few grand mages, a legendary mage isn’t that cheap.”
Thor waved his arm in anger, “But this is for the Alliance! How could you do this?”
“You know how old I am. I was born in a time when there was no Sacred Alliance! This country is only a consortium, a union; just adding the word sacred to its name doesn’t make it holy. The Alliance never gave me anything, why should I fight for it? I’m no fool like Rundstedt, but I did offer to do so for the right price.
“And to think I considered you a friend for the past century… So be it, I don’t think there is any need for us to meet again.” The old mage directly opened a portal and stepped through, leaving an angry Thor at a loss for words.
Richard entered his study the moment he got back home, reading through the book from Thor.
The Outlands was a collective term for a section of the void that contained an unknown number of planes. It was a region of the Darkness where chaos was dominant, with even the Eternal Dragon not possessing power. There was no stability to the place and the worlds were floating around, powerful races that swept through several planes capable of dying out in mere months. The environment was worse than even the abyss and hell, extremely unpredictable and unstable. New planes were born regularly, existing planes distorted, and many were destroyed by spatial rifts that could consume everything.
When the Outlands were first discovered, the expedition sent to explore it came back with most people dead. It quickly turned into a place where Norland’s mages sealed those creatures too powerful to kill, and eventually also a land where those rejected by Norland were exiled. It took centuries for the legendary mages of Norland to begin understanding the laws of those planes, carving out a small region of relative control.
However, the power of chaos was still unbearable and stood directly opposite the Eternal Dragon, Most blessings were diminished or even rendered ineffective, greatly weakening the powerhouses of Norland who were used to the power boosts.
This explained to Richard why Julian stood so opposite to the Eternal Dragon; he had only adapted to the laws of chaos that governed existence in the Outlands. For a mere saint to survive in the harsh environment, this was a necessity.
But after reading through it all, he concluded that Princess Apeiron herself wasn’t necessarily the same. If she was someone who even eclipsed Emperor Philip in talent, she certainly had no need to succumb to the laws of chaos or use their might. It was the same way someone like Sharon could go on trips to the hells or the abyss without actually changing herself; Apeiron would be far too powerful for the chaos to exert a hold on her. If this was true, the implications were enormous:
She wouldn’t be suppressed in Faust at all.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA