City of Sin

Book 1, Chapter 27C
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The Power To Change The World

Richard’s answer caused Fayr to give him a long look. However, the old grand mage eventually shook his head, “That isn’t your real reason, I can see it in your eyes... Forget it, I shouldn’t be interfering. But know this: this is the Deepblue, and everything here belongs to Her Excellency. If anything troubles you, you can approach either me or Sharon herself.

“The Deepblue is also a world of mages, and secular power cannot extend all the way here. If the disputes you find yourself affect too much of the outside world, then you can tell your father. The Archeron Family’s power has caused many people fear, and Marquess Gaton himself has begun to establish himself in Faust, the capital of legends. That means he has enough power to be at the peak of the secular world.”

Richard’s gaze shifted away. It took a while for him to speak, “I do not want to borrow Marquess Gaton’s strength.”

Aged wisdom allowed Fayr to find Richard’s little secret in his addressal of the man. However, this didn’t surprise him; everyone who carried the Archeron name was a strong character. Of course there were other families like that in Norland, such as Saint Peter’s descendants and Wisma, Agarest, Solam, Julius and the like.

Fayr nodded and spoke in a low voice, “I actually have one more doubt... The art of killing far exceeds the limits of this domain, which was what allowed you to see the possibilities. However, to merge all 46 of the fundamental runic subjects isn’t something even a genius can do. That needs diligence and wisdom; true wisdom, mind you, not intelligence. You, Richard, aren’t the most outstanding in the Deepblue in terms of your wisdom. I thought you’d only be able to craft runes of your own once you turned fifteen, but you’ve done it at twelve. That doesn’t make sense...”

Even as he asked this, Fayr knew there was no answer to this question. The fact was that Richard had taken the most important step for all runemasters, and since he met the requirements the reasoning didn’t matter.

Having studied magic philosophy intensely, Fayr knew there was a reason behind this. If he couldn’t find one right now, it only meant that he didn’t see it yet, not that one didn’t exist. Norland had far too many secrets, and the numerous universes with their innumerable planes could never be completely explored. It wouldn’t be absurd if some bored god suddenly gave Richard complete knowledge of runecrafting out of nowhere. Even Saint Peter, who crafted holy equipment, revealed before his death that most of his inspiration had come from the gods.

Fayr stood up, stowing the rune away, “Nevermind, let’s not waste time on trivial issues. Whatever the reason is much of your breakthrough can be attributed to luck, but luck only becomes a greater factor of your strength the further you get.”

Pausing for a while, the grand mage Fayr spoke profoundly, “Richard, perhaps you still have no idea about how lucky you are. This is an open secret, so there’s no need for me to keep it from you: Her Excellency has a habit of having only one apprentice in every domain, so as to continue passing on her knowledge. Her students are dazzling pearls on the crown of magic, and that is especially true for runemasters.”

“So...?” Richard suddenly understood the malice that came from Steven and Minnie, as well as the reason for Randolph’s plot to kill him despite them having nothing to do with each other before that.

“From what I know Steven was interested in becoming a runemaster, and he seems very resolute. However, you’re already ahead of him with the most decisive step. That’s the reason I told you how to take care of disputes that cannot be resolved. Remember to take care of yourself as well.”

Richard could tell what Fayr was implying, but he remained in disbelief, “But this is the Deepblue!”

Grandmaster Fayr chuckled, “No matter how powerful the law is, it can only control the rational people.”

This caused Richard to bow his head in contemplation. He eventually seemed to understanding the meaning of the words, nodding to Fayr.

The old mage had packed everything up by then, and some students he had summoned had hurried over, “Now, come with me, lucky boy, and I’ll show you how runemasters create miracles. I’m sure seeing this will give you a greater understanding of the world of runemasters than half-true sayings and old legends.”

An hour later, Richard and Fayr were seated within a magic laboratory situated outside the Deepblue. The place was giant and open-air, allowing the testing of large-scale magic or even legendary spells. It was normally also used as an arena for beast fights, to test new magic beasts or fresh summons.

A violent, armoured warhorse was brought into the lab arena under Richard’s gaze. This was a type of magic beast local to the Deepblue, much larger than ordinary warhorses with a layer of scales as hard as steel covering its back. The beast was untamable, its metallic hooves able to crush a polar bear’s skull while its speed and jump height could compare to maers deer. All these factors summed up to give it few natural predators.

The most valuable part of the armoured warhorse was the metallic scales on its back. They were stronger than the strongest metals in production, but still as light as feathers. On top of that they took easily to magic, not requiring too much of a complicated process to attach runes to.

In order to prevent these tyrannical magical beasts from suddenly going berserk, they had to pass through a very long, dark and narrow pathway. The moment the armoured horse entered the laboratory, the open space that suddenly appeared before it caused it to pause. This was a huge area with a circumference of over a thousand metres, with all sorts of terrain on it. After so many experiments, the dense mana remnants and the many bloodstains from magic beasts over the years caused it to grow guarded.

The moment the warhorse paused, Richard saw that a portion of the scales on its chest had been removed. The elementary agility rune had been placed there instead, and this obviously wasn’t just a simple embedding. The beast hide had been trimmed and processed, planted on the corresponding spot with meticulous care.

The armoured warhorse’s snorts grew rougher, and the rune at its chest began to flicker. This was a sign that the rune had absorbed the beast’s mana, beginning to activate.

Stimulated by powerful bloodlust, the horse went completely berserk! It got up on two legs and released a long neigh, beginning to charge like lightning once its hooves touched the ground. It looked like it wanted to jump over two piles of logs in its way, breaking through the border fences to regain its freedom.

Just as the armoured horse jumped into the air, the rune suddenly emanated dazzling light. The horse showed astounding ability as one leap took it astoundingly far, crossing the first pile but then smashing it into the second. This jump alone was half a fold of increased jump distance!

Wood shavings flew everywhere, and the heavy logs were sent rolling by the impact. A log that was half a metre long was the one to bear the brunt of the impact, almost being torn in half!

The warhorse grew dizzy with the impact, its head spinning as it couldn’t determine its location. It started charging in all directions, the rune on its chest glowing as it further increased its speed.

However, this evidently surpassed the limits of the horse’s control. It sometimes ran too far, or sometimes it misjudged the distance and crashed into the fence. Sometimes it just jumped too high or too far, causing it to lose its balance mid-air and fall face-down.

Dull thuds sounded everywhere, and pieces of wood, mud, and stone fell everywhere. The gigantic body of the warhorse practically turned into a black phantom as it darted around at unimaginable speeds, smashing right into the obstacles with its body. With its body weight and speed, the horse itself had become a terrifying weapon, the slightest of impacts causing terrifying damage.

Watching the armoured horse speeding around the lab like lightning, Richard could only gape. He was quite familiar with this often-seen beast, but he’d never thought it could reach such speeds. Seeing the terrifying power of the horse after it sped up... This was like a whole new species!

Was this the power of a runemaster?

Little Richard suddenly found his mouth going dry. He felt like he was a baby who had grabbed a metal sword, wanting to use it as a toy, but only found out after brandishing it that this sword had the power to destroy anything he saw.

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