Book 7, Chapter 43

A Silent Change Of Heart

Sharon’s original plan was to place Richard in the laboratory alone, giving him the entire focus of the facility. Ensio was hardy and hadn’t suffered nearly as much damage relatively; once the initial treatment was completed, he could recover no matter where he was. Even spending all the money she had, she would only shorten his recovery period by a month. However, with Apeiron having used the word lover in public, she suddenly felt conscious of such favouritism and tried to avoid it,

She had boasted freely about imparting the “trauma” on the night of destiny to anyone who would listen over the past years, but after listening to the Empress she suddenly felt an urge to deny it. It confused her. Was she not the greatest mage of Norland? Since when was she accountable to anyone?

However, she had begrudgingly decided to put Ensio in the laboratory as well. There was no need to spend 100,000 gold to give someone a month when their natural life would last thousands of years; it was an astronomical sum for the miserly mage.

However, Sharon didn’t realise that those around her knew her personality very well. The mere fact that she had placed Ensio with Richard had only confirmed their thoughts.

She suddenly raised an eyebrow as she saw shadows circling in the middle of his forehead, projections from nightmare creatures that were gathering somewhere in the void to strike. He had evidently caught their attention once more.

She reached out to touch his brow, fingertips lighting up with astral rays that burrowed into the shadows once more. These rays immediately started burning the grey energy, shooting through the void to rip open the void. A moment later, she dumped an enormous amount of astral energy into his body.

…

The Legion of Nightmares had gathered in the void outside Norland, eagerly awaiting its next exploit. The previous activation of the lighthouse had been cut off by a powerful being, stopping their invasion at only a few groups, but this time would be different. The lighthouse had lit up brighter this time than the last, and they were almost done assembling.

However, the flickering lighthouse suddenly winked out once more, disappearing from view.

…

Sharon’s eyes twinkled strangely as she looked at the sleeping Richard, but she sighed gently and turned to leave the laboratory. Summoning Blackgold to a temporary meeting room, she asked for a detailed explanation of the economic situation of the Deepblue ever since she had gone into hibernation.

The grey dwarf’s report surprised her. The Deepblue had held up much better than expected, mostly because Richard had pumped in ten million gold and added his own research grants on top. A handful of his projects were starting to reap results, of which three were rather successful. By name, they were the stonewood ignition catalyst, enhanced gunpowder, and a method for low-temperature steel refinement.

The first two solutions were already in large-scale production, the orders from the Archeron Family alone exceeding 500,000 gold in revenue. Even that was because the Deepblue didn’t have much manufacturing ability; if not for that, the revenue would be in the millions. The third project had the potential to greatly lower the cost of refining steel and double production across the plane; in a plane like Norland where war was the only constant, this was extremely important. Richard’s factories were already working on the method, with the Deepblue and Archeron Family alone using 30,000 tonnes of raw materials. This was enough to arm 10,000 rather skilled soldiers.

The legendary mage flipped through the projects Richard had started and immersed herself in the details, spending the entire afternoon just reading. When she got to the gunpowder formula, she inspected it in detail and flicked her wrist in the air a few times as though she was drawing. After about half an hour, she picked up a piece of paper and wrote down three formulae, “Go test these, they should give you some improvement.”

The grey dwarf picked up the piece of paper with delight. Although he was a mage himself, he still had an instinctive love for firearms; that was why he used a gun himself. If not for the strengthened gunpowder formula, his gun would be nowhere near strong enough to contend with any decent enemy. Now, while he had failed against Voidbones, the weapon had shown enough power to severely injure a regular saint if within range. If Sharon’s formulae were effective— as they no doubt would be— his gun would grow even stronger.

Blackgold had been planning for a while now to build a few more guns and sell them to the grand mages of the Deepblue. These old, physically weak men would consider it a god-sent weapon for close combat. Mages were elite war machines, but duels were the death of them if not for such protective items.

The only problem was that this gun cost him 100,000 gold to make even ignoring the price of his own labour. Even 150,000 gold wouldn’t be giving him much profit, at which point one could buy many other epic-grade items for cheaper. If Sharon’s help pushed the guns to the level where they would be top-grade even amongst epic-grade equipment, then he could make a business out of it.

Once Blackgold was sent away, Sharon suddenly felt flustered and paced about aimlessly, not knowing what she wanted to do. Lost in thought, she didn’t realise just when it was that she’d walked back to the laboratory where Richard was being treated. He was still asleep, but the feeling of his three hearts beating steadily left her relieved.

The three-hearted Richard was now at the door to the legendary realm, and he had showcased signs of using the power of laws in his fight with Julian. Even though it was insignificant to someone at her level, she could still tell that he was on the right path and halfway to becoming a legendary being. This also meant that he would have no problems becoming a saint runemaster, even if that wasn’t enough to fix the Deepblue Aria on her body.

While Richard’s body under the power of the Torrent of Life was just as youthful as always, the last vestiges of childishness in him had long since faded away. Replacing them was now a solemn aura, one that had gotten her to remember a face she hadn’t seen in a long time; Gaton’s. She reached out to touch his chest that hadn’t yet fully healed; that childish battle had still shown just how much the talentless whelp had gone through to make such remarkable improvements.

However, just as her hand reached halfway, she suddenly withdrew it like lightning. The busy old elf shook and looked towards the ground in an instant, pretending not to have seen anything. On the other hand, Ensio was breathing stably in the other vessel but that breath was too regulated. Sharon’s ears perked up for a moment as she recognised the bluff, but she just snorted and walked out of the laboratory.

Ensio slowly opened his eyes, his expression turning gloomy; rough times were in store. He even started considering leaving Norland as quickly as he could. However, considering everything that had happened ever since Blackgold had summoned him back, he had to admit it was a special experience. He had been prepared to lose all his progress in the Land of No Beginning when he returned, but not only had he maintained his realm but he was also making breakthroughs in his comprehension of laws.

Richard was the only one in the room who was fully unconscious, but his body turned in the midst of his sleep and started absorbing more of the energy as it reconstructed itself. Strength slowly returned to his body, while the trace effects of War Fanatic remained and kept his power cohesive. Even though he hadn’t gained a legendary ability, the brief experience in that realm was priceless. Just like the flame potion, the benefits were far greater than expected and would greatly smooth his path when he actually got there.

Everyone had a different path to legendary status. Most sky saints who failed to get there had one thing in common; they tried to carve their paths inorganically, failing to comprehend the laws of the world. However, the foray into level 21 had shown him his path.

And yet, that wasn’t the limit of War Fanatic’s effects. With his body finally calming down and the injuries being corrected, the Archeron bloodline went into hibernation but his elven one did not. The trees started growing vigorously as they absorbed the incoming energy, the water level in the well of stars rising slowly even as the liquid mana started to sparkle with astral light. The symbol for Schloan started flickering in and out of existence, with a new symbol popping into existence right next to it.

The spell formation in the laboratory suddenly started to speed up as the crystals placed within were drained. All of the energy started converging in Richard’s vessel, his body shining with blinding light. The elven mage was shocked, but fortunately retained the sense to sound the alarm before rushing to replace the crystals.

“Hurry, get more magic crystals! Right away!” the old man barked to the mages who rushed in moments later.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA