The night of the midsummer festival was a night branded deeply into Richard’s mind. All the way till he returned to his residence, he’d been in constant disbelief over what had just happened. Everything was unbelievable, however despite this, the fire dragon’s hide on his neck was very real.
This item that was worth nearly ten million coins had been scrunched up into a bundle by Mountainsea, and had been handed over to him as a gift. Richard opened it up and laid it over a huge worktable, caressing it gently.
Spread out, the dark red hide which had bright patterns threaded throughout it was nearly two square metres in size, taking up most of the table. Despite the magic lamp that emitted a light as bright as sunlight, the faint red luster which the hide emitted could still be seen, wafting off from the its surface like mist. When Richard stroked the hide, he could feel a boiling heat from the tip of his fingers.
A large amount of data surged out as Richard’s hands came in contact with the hide, allowing him to grow familiar with its properties. This was the most precious material that he had ever touched in his life, and if he were to use this hide as a material for his rune, many of his plans could become reality. With its help, he was at least 30% sure that he could make a rune powerful enough that it would allow the snow rabbit to win over the winter wolf. However, at least to Richard the origin of this skin remained a mystery.
Honestly, Richard was very willing to befriend Mountainsea, although becoming her man was another story. For now, however, he still was unsure of her true intentions.
His heart told him the barbarian girl was simple and sincere. On the other hand, the wisdom and logic he’d formed after many years warned that there must have been some kind of conspiracy behind her actions.
Richard had his own principles and thoughts. Although he wanted to become friends with Mountainsea, he wasn’t going to use any of that vast wealth of hers. His mother had moulded his ethics when he was young, and the shadow of Gaton Archeron loomed over him in the present.
Before sending him to the Deepblue, Gaton had once said something that was deeply imprinted within his mind, “Every Archeron has a burning arrogance inside them. Rather than asking for help from others, they would rather use their own two hands to break new ground. Of course, this comes with pros and cons. The cons are that the Archerons will forever find it difficult to band together. However, the pros are that every successful Archeron will be feared by others.”
Silvermoon elves were obviously proud as well, but it came with detachment and arrogance. The pursuance of perfection which came from their very blood made it difficult for them to see anything else.
These two different kinds of pride mixed into one within Richard, and he himself had no idea whether he was more like the silvermoon elves or the Archerons.
He rolled up the hide once more and set out to seal the magic material. Unless he kept it in a semi-plane, if the hide was not sealed and stored with magic, the magical force within it would gradually dissipate. At this moment, however, Richard found that there was a slight power flowing around the dragonhide, which he immediately linked to the barbarian girl through its desolate aura. She hadn’t added any forces to the hide when she’d used it as a shawl, only doing so when she gifted it to Richard to ensure that the magic inside wouldn’t dissipate. Who knew that someone who charged around everywhere without regard could be so attentive?
Richard subconsciously flashed a small smile. He then cautiously placed it on the top rack of the magic material warehouse.
That afternoon, his schedule was filled with classes. However time flew by, and soon enough it was lunchtime. Richard saw lunch and dinner everyday as a battle. Although his diet was no longer modulated by the legendary mage herself, it was still being modified every now and then by the best alchemist of the Deepblue. The similarity between the two was that the ingredients used were equally expensive, and the portions equally astounding, which was why two strong, tanned slaves were now needed to bring him his meals.
Returning to the residence, Richard was surprised to see Mountainsea waiting for him at his door. Behind her were only Steelrock, the old man, and two court guards. After bringing the girl and her people inside, Richard’s lunch was also sent over by two tanned slaves.
After the food was arranged properly, the girl immediately made a squeal of enjoyment and sat by the table, “Treat me to a meal! Treat me to a meal!”
“Of course!” Richard replied, wanting to be friends with her. He also called out to Steelrock and the old man, but was tactfully rejected by the barbarian warriors. The gigantic Steelrock seemed to treat everyone with disdain, but it looked like he had a good attitude towards Richard.
After being invited to eat, Mountainsea did not hesitate. She immediately made her move, using her hands and not bothering with the ten kinds of exquisite cutlery available on the table. Whether it was the dragon ribs or the turtle shell, all were easily torn into pieces and tossed into her mouth, which she swallowed after chewing and crunching. Even the boiling-hot soup and its ingredients were all poured into her mouth. No matter what was inside, they were all swallowed in a gulp. Her teeth seemed to be able to crush all substances in the world, and the dragon bone and turtle shell appeared to her as mere crispy kernels or nuts.
The old man expressed his desire to see the residence of a legendary mage’s disciple, and Richard happily allowed them to move around as they wished. All the information he had here was on the basics of magic and was no secret in the Norland continent. He returned to the table after taking care of the old man and Steelrock, only to freeze upon seeing that Mountainsea had finished everything.
He’d only spoken a few words during that time...
Mountainsea looked at the empty plates, and even she felt a little sorry, “Ah, while this place isn’t all that good in other areas, the food is not bad!”
The girl stood up and pulled at Richard, saying, “How about you come to my camp? My people went to the sea to fish last night. If you go now, you can eat sharks and even devil whales!”
“You don’t stay in the Deepblue?” Richard was rather curious.
“Of course not! What’s good about this place? You can only see the mountains and seas outside through such a tiny window. I like being able to see the sky right after I wake up. Floe Bay is actually very magnificent and almost measures up to my hometown. Why do you hole yourself up in such a tiny cage?”
Richard found this funny, though he could not say much after seeing Mountainsea looking so sincere. Forget winter, even at the beginning of spring or late in autumn people freeze to death here, he’d wanted to say, but from the looks of it the girl had no idea about what cold was.
Richard could only refuse her invitation, “No, I have to meet Master this afternoon.”
Mountainsea made a sound of surprise and suddenly remembered, stating, “I have an appointment with her this afternoon too— I’d almost forgot about that. Actually, it doesn’t matter whether I see her, but since you’re going, let’s go together!”
Though there was still some time before the appointment, Richard had no plans to get food elsewhere. He could only use the internal communications system and ask the people who sent meals over to bring a few light refreshments when they came to clean up. He then found a place with a wide view by the large French window and began to chat with Mountainsea.
The girl talked about the glory of the barbarian world. From her narrations, Richard learnt that they lived on a huge island at the east of Norland called the Desolate Continent. This was because in terms of surface area, it could already be considered a continent. The native tribes that lived there called this continent Klandor, the Land of the New Heroes.
Richard also mentioned the great life he’d had in Rooseland. Although it was the life of people who lived at the very bottom in the continent, Mountainsea listened on with keen interest.
At this point, Steelrock and the old man had completed touring Richard’s residence once.
Steelrock’s gaze swept through the various magic materials and books, even secretly taking a thick and dull ‘Planar Geometry’ book from the bookshelf and flipping through it. There were many notes wedged inside, in which Richard had written his thoughts. Every note only had one or two lines, but there were a fair number of them accumulated throughout the book. Steelrock placed the book back and used his fingers that were as thick as a steel pillar and lightly grasped a book on magic theory. After flipping through it, he found a similar set of notes and nodded, before pushing it back on the bookshelf. Compared to normal humans, Steelrock was basically a giant, but his current movements were surprisingly agile, not leaving behind a single trace.
The old man stood in front of Richard’s work table, bending over as he looked carefully at one of Richard’s incomplete ideas for a rune. The large parchment paper spread on the table was filled with countless numbers and formulas, as well as two rough drawings of parts of a magic formula. The final structure was yet to be completed, and there was still some calculations and validating formulas to be done. An incomplete concept like this was something no runemaster would be interested in taking another look at. Yet, the old man stood still in front of the table, as if he had a great interest in these dull numbers.
Steelrock headed to the old man’s side and glanced at the table. Obviously unimpressed by the numbers, he immediately began to frown. “This is a rune? It’s far from our saint totems. This kid is diligent, frugal, and disciplined, but he’s quite poor. This rune seems incomplete. Look, there’s a fatal flaw here in this formula.”
The old man shook his head, “Whether an eagle can soar into the blue skies is obvious from the moment it flaps its wings from its nest.”
Steelrock rubbed his gigantic palms together, “This kid will be an eagle in the future?”
The old man did not answer, and instead said, “It’s time to meet Her Excellency, Sharon.”