Book 7, Chapter 51

Path To Sainthood

The woman felt her heart shiver for a moment from the accusation, and despite her hesitations she begrudgingly nodded, “Just one peek!”

The two of them approached the magic sealing case, the young lady picking it up with trembling hands. Although the case was covered in complicated spell formations, their main purpose was to keep the energy of the contents from dispersing; opening and closing the case could be accomplished by any Archeron with a sufficiently pure bloodline.

Blue and red light burst out from within the case the moment it was opened, a cloud of energy surrounding it that was breathtakingly beautiful. Inside was a thin golden wafer of sorts with a veined pattern engraved upon it, light flickering along the lines as though full of life. This was the newborn magic soul.

This was a rune with a soul!

The woman was still admiring the beauty in a daze when the youth suddenly put his hand into the box, grabbing the soul within.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” she cried out; it was common sense that newborn magic souls should never be touched.

Greed flashed through the man’s eyes, but he still maintained a blank expression, “I just wanted to touch it… Why? Hey, where did the magic soul go?”

She stomped hard, crying out, “You can’t touch a newborn soul! It hadn’t fused with the rune yet, it entered your body!”

“What?” the youth seemed to be shocked, “Will I die?!”

“No! Goddammit, it will only enhance your talent. But…”

The youth sighed, “That’s alright then, what are you so angry about?”

“It doesn’t belong to you!”

“What do you mean? We’re the ones that saw it first! Such a spiritual entity will only accept someone who is virtuous, right? Besides, I didn’t mean to do it, what can I do now?”

The young lady looked at him blankly, the anger slowly fading from her face. After a moment, she sighed, “Whatever, I don’t know. Let’s think of a way to hide it from Richard fi—”

“What are you two doing here?” Richard’s voice suddenly boomed through the room, “Who allowed you to come in? And who’s this?”

The pair immediately spun around, seeing Richard stood at the entrance dressed in common robes. The young man’s eyes glinted with a hint of killing intent as he saw Richard without a weapon, but knowing that it wouldn’t make a difference he quickly put on an expression of confusion and grabbed the lady’s hand.

The young lady’s heart stirred as she took a step forward, forcing herself to speak, “Brother…”

“Venica… What’s the meaning of this?”

The young lady was the younger sister of both Richard and Demi, a flame guardian like Wennington but not nearly as powerful; she was only level 12. Even though she was unlike Richard who had spent a long time in planar war, Venica was still seventeen; getting to level 12 wasn’t too shabby, but compared to her sister who was only a year older and almost a saint, there was an enormous disparity.

In fact, Venica had actually been the most talented of his siblings at one point. However, she was also the laziest of the lot, her current abilities a far cry from where she could have been. He only expected her to become a saint at best in her life, and that too purely because she would want the extended youth. This was someone without the work ethic to actually make something of herself.

He thus left her alone, treating her just like their other siblings who were inconsequential. As such, she was explicitly denied the right to enter sensitive parts of the castle like this. However, not only had she flouted these rules, but she had also shown the gall to bring an unknown young man in without permission.

Richard made it a point to store his completed runes separately from this storage area, which meant this place only had half-complete items that were useless to anyone who wasn’t him. While losing these half-complete runes would be a huge loss for himself, there was actually no incentive for a thief to come in here. This was why he didn’t add too many barriers to entry; it would just be an annoyance. Besides, only Archerons could open up this place anyway. He hadn’t expected a situation like this to arise at all.

Hearing his question, Venica turned white as a sheet, “We… We came in here by accident. This case… we just opened it before you came in! We were just curious!”

“We, huh. And who is this man?” Richard looked at the youth.

“He’s Lucian, a bard. He’s also my… my…” Faced with her brother’s fierce stare, Venica’s voice petered out mid-sentence. Because of Archeron tradition, saying Lucian was her lover would only get him killed all the faster. Seeing the anger bubbling in Richard’s eyes, she understood that the bard would be killed immediately if he wasn’t pacified.

“Lucian…” Richard muttered to himself, his death-glare surprisingly fading away as he asked calmly, “Is he an Archeron?”

“N-No…” Venica only felt her heart freeze up at this change, knowing that a cold Richard was much more frightening than a hot one, “I-it isn’t…”

“Do you know what’s inside that case?”

At this point, the young lady’s teeth were chattering as she forced out, “An incomplete… rune.”

Lucian’s expression finally warped as he realised just how trivial Venica was in Richard’s heart. He realised the distinct possibility of death, but at this point he could only place his hopes on Venica and pray Richard wouldn’t find out about the magic soul.

“You’re right, and there are only a handful of people on this entire plane who could complete it outside of myself. Why did you open it, was it just curiosity?”

Hearing the softness in Richard’s tone, Venica promptly nodded.

“You know… I really hate it when people lie to my face.” Richard raised his hands and sent faint blue mana into the hidden spell formations in the room, bringing up a hologram that showed Venica and Lucian kissing passionately. Everything that happened afterwards was clearly shown as well; outside of a lack of sound, every moment had been captured. Lucian felt the urge to run, but the fear of instant death kept him in place.

Richard fell silent once he saw the magic soul, raising his head to look at the ceiling and sighing, “So it turns out the rune had developed a magic soul… Even I hadn’t expected that, but it looks like my progress to becoming a saint runemaster has been delayed. Tell me, what should I do?”

He hadn’t even raised his voice, but Venica could barely stand up at this point. “B-Broth—”

“Don’t you call me brother,” he raised a hand, “If you thought of me as one, you wouldn’t have opened this case once you realised it was a magic soul. And you, Lucian… Surprisingly not afraid of me, what should I make of that? Are you brave, or are you just a fool?

“Well, whatever it is… For the sake of a newborn magic soul, only the Empress will be able to stop me from destroying your entire family.”

Lucian finally paled, his lips quivering as though he wanted to speak, but eventually he went silent once more. It was Venica who shrieked and stood in front of him, falling to her knees and hissing out, “Don’t kill him! No! He didn’t mean it, it’s all my fault! I was the one who let him absorb the magic soul!”

Richard’s expression finally softened a little as he looked solemnly at Venica, “Why?”

“I…” Venica composed herself. Now that she had started lying, it was easier to continue, “I did it because his talent isn’t good enough. I was hoping his abilities would grow quickly so we could get your approval for him to join the family faster. He’ll work hard for the family’s sake.”

There were a number of flaws with her fib, even just the fact that the hologram had depicted an entirely different situation, but Richard didn’t probe further and waved, “Leave it for now, I have other things to attend to. Go wait in the lobby, I’ll come take care of this when I’m done.”

After he was done speaking, he stepped aside for them to walk. Venica immediately dragged Lucian away, afraid that Richard would change his mind if they stayed even one more second.

Richard remained in place even once they were gone, staring at the opened magic sealing case with no expression. However, the hands behind his back were now balled into fists with blood dripping down his fingers to the ground.

No one knew just how much it meant for him to become a saint runemaster quickly.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA