So what was it that made this experienced examiner value it to such an extent then?
Could it be one of the Emperor's gift? No, it wouldn't be just that
Upon taking the red box full of rune symbols all over it, Joshua did not open it immediately. He kept the box that seemed extraordinarily precious in his coat nonchalantly.
"Examiner Mengsk, I hope you can explain to me more in-depth about the cause and effect of the events. Your explanation was a little too general. Other than the unknown plague that's currently spreading in the Dark Forest, I've got no other information about whatever that is going on."
The black-haired warrior with red eyes glared at the middle-aged examiner. In a cold and intimidating tone, "Furthermore, the Empire could have just sent me a package or some sort of letter. They would not need to send someone I know They would not have a Silver-tier warrior standing in the middle of a snowy land waiting for my return. I'm not that important."
"On that matter, I'm uncertain of the reason behind it as well. So I don't know where I should begin."
After getting questioned by Joshua, Mengsk understood why Joshua would feel confused. He frowned a little before swiftly replying, "The documents to assume the liege's title have been approved. They would arrive in a few days. They would not have me running back and forth again even if they have anything left to pass them to you. Those will be sent to you together with the documents As for the things that are happening, I'm not really sure about it. However, that plague that we talked about is indeed very special."
"How special?" The warrior continued to ask.
"It seems to have a source. Meanwhile, the source seems to be moving around constantly. And it's definitely moving fast."
The examiner seemed to be prepared for that. He took out a map and drew a curve with a black pen. He then began to explain, "The plague first appeared on the mountains of the west near the sea. Then it also appeared at the Dark Forest in the north. Afterward, it spread rapidly northeast, and now I'm certain it has arrived in the north."
Mengsk had a hint of doubt in his expression. "The daemons and humans do not exhibit differences during normal times. However, the moment they engage in battle, they would get fatigued and pass out more easily. Those that have weaker bodies would experience cramps and chronic sickness. Meanwhile, those who have stronger bodies would experience some bizarre changes"
He suddenly clamped his mouth shut.
Joshua looked at the middle-aged examiner with a solemn expression. He noticed the reason why the examiner stopped talking all of a sudden The door was open, followed by a series of light and rhythmic footsteps approaching the guest room.
The silver-hair Divine Armament girl was carrying two cups of hot tea into the room. Then she put the cups right before them.
"Don't worry, just carry on. You can trust Ying."
Ying put on a puzzled expression. Joshua picked up the cup and took a sip of the hot tea. He did not seem to be bothered at all.
"I trust her, there's no need to be wary of her."
"Even so" Mengsk gave Ying a sideways glance. In any case, he did trust her as he witnessed first-hand her loyalty towards her master.
"Then I shall carry on. Physiologically strong beings would undergo some sort of mutation, where their bodies would turn dark purple, their eyes would become blood red, and black vapor would emerge from their noses and mouths. Their strengths would multiply and they would lose their sanity in the bloodlust.Facing any existence that might threaten them, they would fight to the death, regardless of the outcome."
"According to your description, this sounds very much like the orcs''berserk'."
After hearing all that, Joshua felt a slight throbbing in his head. He looked at the map and spoke gravely, "That's a plague? It seems more like a forced 'berserk' on all of the creatures with strong physiques."
"The Royal Catastrological Laboratory (1) has confirmed it. The bloodlust of a living being seems to be triggered by some sort of object or creature that's wandering around dispersing some unknown matter in the air. It appears that the symptoms can be passed on to others through direct skin contact as well. Since it is highly contagious, it is called a plague."
Mengsk took a sip of his own cup of tea as well. He then expressed his thanks to Ying for getting him the tea. He reached his hand out onto the map and placed his finger on Fort Ural, while shaking his head.
"The mercenaries of the royal families and the official army across all lands that are plagued are trying their best to annihilate the Berserk Daemons that are trying to trigger the Dark Tide. As things are escalating at an unpredictable pace, all people across the lands are suffering great losses. Fortunately, they noticed the incidents much earlier before it was too late. So the fortress still remains intact at the moment."
After explaining the situation to Joshua, the middle-aged examiner tried to steady his voice. "It was probably because of that, that the Empire sent me here to inform you about the upcoming Dark Tide and to pass you the Emperor's gift... Speaking of which, do you know what else I brought along for you, deputy commander of the Black Raven Army?"
After his question, the middle-aged examiner revealed a hint of a smile.
"This is something your commander and your comrades got for you."
"Could it be?"
After hearing that, the black-haired warrior seemed to know what Mengsk was talking about. He immediately sprang to feet with an excited expression on his face. "Well, that'll be a gift far beyond my expectations if you've brought it along today!"
Mengsk did not waste any time, standing up immediately as well. He then took out two items that and placed them on the table.
They looked like miniature equipment; one was a finger-sized sword and the other was a palm-sized armor set. Although tiny, it was apparent that these items were of remarkable workmanship. Even the smallest details were carved to perfection.
"Your previous armor set was heavily damaged at the great battle at Thomas Grand Canyon. Furthermore, there have been some changes in the family territories. Because of that, they couldn't afford to wait until your armor is reforged. So I have to bring them here for you this time."
Mengsk continued to explain to Joshua who was also smiling at him, "Now, I've brought them all here... This remodeled enchanted plate piece might not be as good as the rune armor forged by the dwarves, there is no doubt that this is one of the most extraordinary equipment in the world."
Crude, Normal, Excellent, Extraordinary, Legendary, special items and also set equipment were the basic grading on the equipment in Continental War. There might be more specific grades but none of that really mattered.
Joshua picked up the two statuettes from the table. It was a familiar feeling when he came in contact with them. The faint scent of blood was released, giving off a nostalgic vibe. The black-haired warrior could not help but recall on the time when he first joined the Black Raven Army. He had spent thousands of nights, from deadly battles to finally battling against the orcs. These two pieces of equipment had been with him ever since. They had gone through so much together, being one hell of a journey.
Holding these two small statuettes in his hands, he gently read out the secret words he had set upon the equipment when he first acquired them.
"Cold winds shall gradually activate this."
By saying that short sentence, countless runes emerged from the surfaces of the two models. Subsequently, a light began to ripple across space and time, before a huge blade and black armor set appeared right in the hands of Joshua.
The greatsword was slightly smaller than Ying, in her Divine Armament form. Both, however, were of the same length. On the other hand, the black armor looked plain, yet durable. There was even a small and barely visible circling sundial raven seen carved on the right shoulder of the armor.
Joshua heard a small gasp behind him. However, he did not pay attention to it. He swung the weapon right in his hand around. Instantly, the magic runes on the body of the sword began to radiate. A gust suddenly filled the entire room. The lampstand made of stone was shaking violently while the open door was creaking.
"So how's it? This weapon is beyond the weapons that you had back then. It has been enhanced with magic as well. Same goes for the armor set. Perhaps the enhancement on the armor set is even better than the enhancement made on the greatsword."
Mengsk dusted his clothes that were blown by the gust a
moment back there. He took out a silver timepiece from his breast pocket. After looking at the time, he nodded at Joshua and said, "Your strength should be increased to another level with a full set of equipment. Although I really have no idea what the Emperor gave you, it seemed like that item is going to help you take care of the Dark Tide. My mission is complete here. I must take leave as soon as I am able to."
Joshua would have to take care of his own business with the family territories of course.
"Thank you, so do you need to resupply?"
Joshua was not used to having guests around. Since he noticed that Mengsk had some other matters to attend to, he just expressed his gratitude without asking the man to stay over for dinner.
Three minutes later, Joshua sent Mengsk off at the door, looking at his back which slowly vanished into the dark winter.
From the beginning of their conversation up until they parted ways, the two simple men got the issue handled within ten minutes.
"Hmm, next weapo..."
However, just when Joshua was ready to look at what was inside the red rune box, he could hear someone complaining about something behind him.
1) Made-up word (Catastrological Lab) - A place where the study of catastrophes (catastrology) is conducted.