Flowsand came to look for Richard punctually every day after dinner. The combat techniques of the Church of the Eternal Dragon were actually full of mysteries, a few basic postures linking together to form endless changes. This was a true technique that was not based purely upon one’s strength. Of course there was no way for a level 1 cleric to defeat a saint, but between two people of the same level and class these techniques would definitely help one survive.

Richard found that even with the secret swords of Silvermoon, his fighting technique lost out to Flowsand. He was not a match for her in an unarmed melee. Flowsand’s body was essentially perfect, her great flexibility making every contact a wonderful pleasure. Over the several hours that they would fight, they ended up in all sorts of positions. Before, this would have led to a bout of intense sex. However, Richard had been training with her for an entire week but not touched her once.

The thorn in his heart would just not fade.

However, Flowsand was just unwilling to explain. Even if Richard occasionally slapped her rear, she still let it go. Eventually, he just ended up going quiet. Elena’s arrogance had been bred into his very bones; would not ask again and again.

Bluewater hadn’t been quiet in all this time that Richard had hidden himself away. The delegates of all the nobles arrived at the city one after the other, meeting with Richard’s followers. Olar had been considered a pretty good diplomat once, but now his glamour was completely overwhelmed by Io’s.

The battle priest had impeccable looks and bearing, his power great enough to subdue most. In a world of gods like Faelor, offending a priest was much worse than offending a mage. However, Io never took pride in his looks and power, instead being humble with every person he met, be it a regular soldier or a title noble. Everyone that met him felt inspired; it had just been a week, but he was already the most popular person in the entire oasis.

At this point, even Richard’s followers could see the problem. The priest evidently wouldn’t heed Richard’s orders. However, Io was just like Flowsand; strictly speaking, they weren’t really Richard’s subordinates. None of them could say much about it.

Almost everyone in Bluewater liked Io, but a fair number of people didn’t treat him well either. Tiramisu was the most obvious, seemingly ready to throw him into a cauldron and make soup from him. Waterflower never smiled in front of him; in fact, she had told him to scram when he once invited her to dinner in front of everyone.

Phaser’s eyes were always on Flowsand. The special unit had been hiding at the side once when Flowsand left Richard’s room. In the end, a soft but powerful hand covered her eyes that were radiating bloodlust and dragged her off.

Only after they were a hundred metres away did Waterflower throw her to the ground before disappearing into the darkness. “Don’t interfere,” she left behind icily.

Phaser had been left where she was, wondering hard. However, that night had somehow smoothened the relationship between the two greatly.

Every night after Flowsand left, Richard would stand by the window as he watched the starry sky, asking himself what he should do.

He was seventeen years old, a time filled with confusion. This was the same age when Gaton was paying Elena’s bills, brushing horses in foul-smelling stables so her party could drink…

It took ten days for him to finally walk out of his room, tossing three runes to Gangdor. The price was Gangdor taking him out to drink him unconscious. Halfway through, he vaguely felt like there were a lot more people around. Waterflower, the elven bard, an old man that might have been Kellac, and a tall, fat figure that wasn’t human.


Richard only woke up when the sun shone on his face. He moved a little, but was immediately assaulted by a splitting headache. Memories of the previous night were slow to come; he only remembered that he had pulled Gangdor out to go drink and nothing else.

He groaned as he struggled out of his bed, washing his face with cold water to ease the hangover. His eyes landed on the worktable, realising that the three completed runes had disappeared to leave behind only an incomplete Guardian of Life. He thought about it seriously, remembering that all three were for Gangdor. They had likely been handed over to him already.

“This is bad!” he hit his own forehead in vexation, “Why did I drink last night, and so much at that?”

He truly regretted the time he had lost. Had he been in a good state, a grade 2 rune like Guardian of Life could be completed in three nights. Grade 1 runes would only need two nights at most. Every night was exceptionally important to him; the path to the top was paved with every minute and second of hard work.

He dressed up and walked out of the room, standing on the balcony. The cool morning breeze made him feel much more comfortable.

Loud cheers were ringing out in the distance, pulling his attention. He found two figures fighting at the training grounds.

One was Gangdor, while the other was Tiramisu. The two were colliding head-on, dull thuds making it all the way to Richard’s balcony. He could even feel the wood underneath his feet shaking.

Gangdor and Tiramisu’s hands were entwined as they wrestled. This was a competition of pure strength with no shortcuts, but the difference between the two races was enormous. Even a sturdy adult human was no match for an ogre child; this wasn’t a contest on the same playing field. On top of that, although Tiramisu was a mage his physique was exceedingly powerful. He also had a standard strength rune on him.

This wasn’t supposed to be a competition at all, but Gangdor’s muscles flexed as he managed to actually repel the ogre! Without being suppressed in terms of strength, the cunning Gangdor who had survived the Archeron death camp had an overwhelming advantage.

He shouted loudly as his front leg hit the ground, cracks spreading out around his foot. A matchless power surged into his arms as he actually raised the ogre mage off the ground! Gangdor spun around until Tiramisu turned too dizzy to cast any spells, finally flipping him over into the ground. The collision was extremely heavy; even with the ogre’s physique he was left groaning, unable to get up right away. Gangdor touched his bald head awkwardly, quickly reaching out to help Tiramisu up.

Richard’s other followers had been watching from the sidelines, but none of them bothered with Gangdor’s excited challenges. The brute eventually offered to take them all on at the same time, after which they immediately mobbed him.

Tiramisu cast quite a few curses on him right away, weakening him to an extent. Waterflower was quite quick, flashing behind him but in no hurry to actually attack. She instead shouted loudly, in a manner that seemed rather unnecessary.

However, this shout had a miraculous effect. Gangdor raised his arm to block subconsciously, giving her the perfect chance. She immediately rammed into his ribs, sending his huge body flying. Tiramisu and Olar took advantage of this and started beating him up, with even Zendrall secretly kicking the man a few times.

Phaser entered the battle stealthily, wanting to land a few attacks on Gangdor with her left hand, but the blade only scared Waterflower who quickly carried her away.

Watching all this from a distance, Richard smiled knowingly. Gangdor had just obtained three new runes to complete a set, a mutation of Savage Strike. With the defensive ability being raised from the original version, his might had risen considerably. However, it hadn’t yet been a day and he was in a hurry to test out his newfound power. As expected, he managed to send even Tiramisu flying!

After that, he got impulsive. The consequence of challenging everyone at once was being brought down by the seemingly pure Waterflower. In that moment, even he had the urge to get into the field with them.

This morning seemed extremely beautiful, but Flowsand was missing. However, if she did appear, Io was sure to be by her side.

The slight smile on his face suddenly froze.

It was at that moment that a soldier walked behind Richard, informing him that Rolf wanted to meet him. Richard was slightly surprised, not understanding why the saint swordsman would want an audience with him at this time. He instructed the soldier to lead Rolf to the ground floor lobby, saying he would be down immediately.

Outside the gate, Rolf had his hands behind his back as he also watched the fight in the grounds. However, unlike Richard his expression was solemn, especially so when the rest of Richard’s followers attacked Gangdor. Tiramisu’s casting speed, Gangdor’s powerful physique, Waterflower’s own strength with that ram… it all left his eyelids twitching.

It left him wondering. Had he been the one under attack by those four, he would not be able to hold on for long. He couldn’t even be slow with his escape, Olar was still around. The elven bard might seem ordinary, but the combination of his warsongs and spells held unimaginable power.

It seemed like Odom truly had fallen at Richard’s hands.

Richard took a few minutes to make sure not a hair was out of place on his body before going down to see Rolf. This was a basic form of etiquette between nobles, a minimal show of respect. He put on a smile the moment he entered the lobby, “Lord Rolf, to what do I owe this pleasure? Could it be that my breakfast is just more delicious than anywhere else?”

Rolf laughed, “Just in time as well! I haven’t had breakfast yet.”

This attitude was something to think about. Rolf seemed to be extra friendly today, something surprising. Richard still couldn’t match up to the man in terms of strength or status. Still, he had his servants bring in a meal. It didn’t take long for the two to finish a sumptuous but not exactly luxurious breakfast, after which Richard told the servants to leave. He then turned to Rolf, “I believe you have something to tell me?”

Rolf picked up his cup of coffee, softly blowing at the bubbles on top before tasting a mouthful. He then took out a little box the size of a palm and handed it to Richard, “I came here to gift this to you, my Lord.” This was the first time the man had been so respectful in addressing Richard.

Richard opened the box only to find two broken fingers within. One was the middle finger of the right hand, the other the thumb of the left. Both had spider tattoos on them, with a pair of black crystal and jade rings that emanated a powerful magical aura. This pair rings gave the user a rather decent boost to their strength and vitality, and were quite famous as the Ivy of Charlotte. They were a symbol of the saint Phinbar of Red Cossack.

Richard carefully appraised the two rings before closing the ring, “Phinbar’s dead?”

“His head was destroyed by my sword’s energy. Thankfully, he still left these two fingers behind. Hehe, without them he’d probably rather die anyway,” Rolf said with a chuckle.

Richard imitated Rolf’s manner, acting like a young noble who cared for little else as he whistled and said, “300,000 gold coins shall be yours, Sir Rolf.”

Rolf’s eyes blazed, “Sir Richard, could you… Exchange the gold for a more powerful rune?”

Richard immediately nodded in reply.

Rolf was slightly shocked, hesitating, “Thank you very much for your generosity, Sir Richard. I know that runes cannot be given out so flippantly; those runes your subordinates use should only be for those worthy of trust. I—”

“I trust you,” Richard interrupted his words.

“This…” Rover was shocked and delighted, at a loss for what to say.

Richard smiled, “Since you have activated the third level of the War Construct scroll, we are family.”

Rolf’s eyes blazed at the mention of the War Construct scroll. “The divine might of the Eternal Dragon is truly indescribable!” he praised from the bottom of his heart.

Richard patted Rolf’s shoulder and laughed, “Wait until you have accumulated enough to make an offering to the Eternal Dragon. Then, and only then, are his divine grace and might truly indescribable!”

Rolf nodded solemnly, not minding the pat at all. Instead, he felt like it was only right for Richard to do so. He obviously knew there would be no end to the offerings once they began. However, so what? Who could resist such a temptation?

With Richard’s guarantee in hand, Rolf left with anticipation and anxiety. Richard himself returned to his laboratory and sat in front of his desk, flipping open a diary before dipping a goose-feather quill in ink and writing down:

“My first steps have been taken in Faelor, and I’ve firmly rooted myself in this plane. However, as I look around, I find my allies to be bandits and thieves, robbers and murderers; desert warriors whose very nature is plunder, and liars, traitors, and heretics. These seem to be the only people I can use to topple the old world order.

“Is this the essence of planar war?”

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