Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Joshua returned to the liege’s residence. He had just entered his private collection chambera great hall where mana giant dragon skulls hung after being shrunk with magicwhen he got more news from his attendants.
Such as his reward for participating in the war against the berserk dragons.
Months ago, in the Sacred Mountain of the Far Sea, the warrior bathed in blood as he toiled in battle, and almost perished. It was thanks to the help from the Nature’s Magister, Pope Igor, and several other Supreme-tier clergies that he did not really die.
Naturally, with toil came rich rewards.
Just before that battle started, Joshua’s weaponsthe siblings Ling and Ying had been improved to the level of Sacred Items. The Empire had even presented him an aerial battleship, and while theGalehad been struck down by a Supreme giant dragon halfway through the war with its wreck being retrieved by the Imperial Sorcery Laboratory, the warrior already had his fill. It was fine since he could not afford its upkeep anyway.
The reward after the war was even much more substantial. Even discounting the favorability amongst the clergies and the prestige in the Sacred Mountain he gained, the physical rewards alone were innumerable.
Due to losses sustained in the war, the Church of Seven Gods did not even have the funds to repair the defensive magic circles that the Sacred Mountain originally held. As such they did not repay him in gold, reimbursing instead with all sorts of items.
Joshua read the inventory in his hand, and turned towards a silver-green box in a nearby corner of the hall which had been placed there carefully by a maid.
Five hundred control cores of automated divine puppets, along with an instruction manual.
“ No gold to build more puppet bodies. That’s why they simply give me this stuff, huh” Joshua mumbled.
Still, the warrior knew that the five hundred cores were an immoderate reward. To Moldavia, a region that never lacks craftsman and minerals, it was equivalent to suddenly gaining a combat force of five-hundred silver-tiers. Furthermore, giving the cores itself also meant giving the final production method to Joshua and the Empire.
From that perspective, the Church of Seven Gods was being very sincere.
Looking down to keep reading the inventory list, Joshua blinked, before turning again towards another side of the hall.
In that corner was a huge steel container marked with compact magic. On it were several huge Far Southern Kingdom fonts that were written seriously’Precious Item, Handle Gently’. The large container was steadily placed on a goatskin carpet, sufficient evidence of the transporter’s prudence.
The warrior nodded. He had almost forgotten about that thing.
As a giant dragon and steed, Black was actually flightlesseach time Joshua was in a rush or entering battle against flying enemies, he could only go himself and not by riding his dragon. The warrior always complained about the matter, but the floating halo would solve the issue.
The Church of Seven Gods had developed the floating halo so that giant war puppets could be equipped with flight capability, before the project was put on stasis for all sorts of reasons and only a single prototype was made. And after learning about Joshua’s request, they remodeled the prototype so that it could combine with Black’s body form, allowing the aquatic fire-dragon to fly and dominated the land, the sky, and the seas.
The floating halo could also fend for itself after being equipped with certain enchantments, but before that it would just be a hunk of fragile metal carved with runes.
“But I recall that Black seems to be acrophobic” Joshua could not help frowning at the thought, but soon relaxed his brow.
“Whatever she thinks, she’ll learn after more training anyway.”
Outside the residence, the black dragon who was enjoying a pleasant washing service from the divine armament siblings suddenly flinched and shuddered. As Ying and Ling scolded it in disgruntlement, Black, who had been shocked awake from its dream, could not find the source of that chilling sense of danger.
Apart from those two items, there were also some rather miscellaneous objects and personnel. They include a whole new set of state-of-the-art alchemical laboratory equipment, as well as some elite clergy specially sent to Winter Fort Academy, five pairs of winged warhorses of both genders as well as special excellent quality holy water
Either way, the Church of Seven Gods had absolutely shown their sincerity. Indeed, the inventory was so long that even the warrior was too lazy to keep reading.
Most of the items would arrive from the Sacred Mountain to Moldavia before spring. The batch placed at the hall right now were the most valuable ones, delivered with a warp portal.
On the other hand, the reward from the Empire may not be as generous, it was still substantial.
Like the Church, apart from gold, the Empire had awarded Joshua in terms of noble titles and family prestige. Now, Moldavia could enlist up to three thousand troopsunlike city guards and patrol security that were more akin to police outfits or Joshua’s own private army and knights’ platoon, it was a formal army conscription, a regiment that could receive reinforcements from the Imperial Army itself.
Initially, most official military forces in Moldavia were stationed at the Dark Forest Fortress to combat against the yearly Dark Tide. Now, however, apart from being allowed to increase the number of those soldiers, other conscripts stationed at towns and villages away from the main city were granted huge allowances. This was certainly something important to the northern territory that had long suffered cultists and lawless adventurersbut more vitally, most of the costs would be absorbed by the Imperial Army, so why not go for it?
That reward alone was completely enough on its own, but the Empire clearly do not lack money, nor do they want to mistreat Joshua.
Israel had promised, in his own name, that he would provide Joshua a set of materials that would allow the divine armaments to ascend. It was different from the bathing in holy light power on the Sacred Mountain, and was another type of empowerment. According to a herald, the materials had arrived at the checkpoint of Mount Ural at presenta dozen days more, and it would reach Moldavia.
Beyond that, there’s a small-scale airship. The thirty-seven-meter long flying craft inherited the designs of the Gale, along with quite a few enchanted weaponries equipped.
It was a new creation by the Imperial Sorcery Laboratory thanks to the experimental data from theGale. Not only could it fly swiftly, it could also plunge into and navigate through seawatera dual-use warship for both sea and air. Of course, the laboratory gave it to Joshua in hopes that he would help them collect more data in his next expedition, since everyone knew that the Count of Moldavia was not a man who would remain in his own domain for a long time.
The rest were rather varied. Including an assortment of gratitude tokens presented by Moldova, they were rather substantial but trifling.
Nonetheless, Brandon, who prepared for a return to the Imperial Capital after sharing a tender moment with his wife and daughters a few days ago, had come over to meet Joshua. Apart from having a spar with the warrior, he also informed the warrior about an important piece of news.
“The Imperial Capital isn’t at peace at the moment.”
When he said that, the blond swordsman had been fixing his collar, but it soon became obvious that he was no savant on dressing. Giving up after quite a while, Brandon spoke seriously and expressionlessly to Joshua as if to conceal his embarrassment.
“Since returning from the Sacred Mountain, the Emperor has not made a formal appearance for some time. According to Master Nostradamus, he seemed to be troubled over some matter. There’s also a weird atmosphere amongst the nobles in the Imperial Capital.”
“You know,” Brandon added with a shrug, “I’ve been staying in the North for too long, but I could still make guess even if I’m not clear on the situation.”
“Dimore Diamond. You’ve met him, Joshua, and you understand the strife within the Imperial Royal Family. Be careful, or you’ll be seen as a thorn on someone’s side.”
Despite the severity of Brandon’s tone, Joshua curiously scratched his head, before working his fingers subconsciously.
“See me as a thorn in their side? I say, shouldn’t they be the ones who should be careful?”
As he recalled the speechless expression of the blond swordsman, the warrior suddenly remembered something.
Damn it.He thought annoyedly.I forgot to ask Brandon for a look at his Dual Blades of Order.
Still, it was no huge trouble. The blond swordsman would often come to the North to meet Vale Danithere was no harm in asking next time.
Peaceful days often pass quickly. A dozen days soon passed, but quite a few things still happened in those dozen days.
After the students at Winter Fort Academy had an adventure at the Great Ajax Mountains, it was the time for another live combat examination. This time, it was neither Amelia or Ivan who ranked first, but that half-dwarf in their party. The robust half-dwarf who had just entered adulthood had awakened his innate racial talent of anti-magic and stone-skin ability.
In the academy that only had Steel-tier talent, he was essentially peerless even though he had had the sloppiest written test results. Laughing sonorously, he defeated twelve despairing opponents, before kicking his best friends off the stage.
After Nostradamus and Joshua, two of the academy’s deans examined his case for some time, they decided to give the half-dwarf a choice of whether he would transfer to a faculty for combat specialist or remain with the main spellcasters faculty.
The result, however, was unexpectedit turned out that the little fellow named Nick was a devotee of the Seven Gods Church. With the Gold-tier clergies sent to the academy also having developed a liking to the young boy, he thus became an apprentice holy knight.
Meanwhile, the juvenile white dragons flourished under the guidance of the blue dragon, Suralno. In months, some of the hatchlings had learned to manipulate magic and flight.
Ordinarily, white dragons that have an affinity for water and ice elements should first awaken their abilities to control frost and liquids, and not flight support that leans towards air-type. However, their instructor was a Supreme blue dragon after allbeing influenced by elements that drift from its body is nothing they could help.
There were quite a few pieces of good news from the dwarf settlement too. The urgent message that came at the same time as the Holy Mountain’s turned out to be a notice from the old dwarf, Moira.
Through an examination of the living metal over Steel Elemental Unit-01’s body, they had produced a brand-new runic puppet successfully. Still, there were many aspects that were not satisfactory. For example, if it was too far from Unit-01, the living metal would gradually lose its liveliness and revert into normal alloy in days.
But in the last dozen days, the rune dwarves had made significant breakthroughs. Through imitation of the energy flow in Unit-01, they managed to keep the runic puppets animated for more than ten days. Naturally that was far from enough, but Joshua believed that since the dwarves had found the right path, they would soon acquire the final product.
When that came to be, a certain thing that he had promised another person would be fulfilled.
Starfall Year 834, the 18th of February. The liege’s residence, main city of Moldavia.
Joshua was having lunch at his own dining hall.
The warrior, who had ascended to Supreme, could now no longer maintain his body functions through energy conversion from food. Even the energy to keep his own digestive organs running far exceeds the nutrition values in most food ingredient, although whatever the case may be, eating was not purely for survival.
The main dish on the banquet table was the most exquisite steak made from a daemon bull. It was grilled so aromatically, with its surface crispy and the inside tenderperfectly chewy along with the rich earth element mana it was brimming with.
Side dishes were a variety of magical plants to complement the special delicacy cooked from daemon flesh. Pure taste or not, each dish could provide substantial mana to empower body and spirit, a pleasure that most food could not provide.
Even if the enriching effects had long since becoming inadequate and ineffectual, the warrior was willing to sit on the dining table to sweep away the food for the smell alone, since his part-time’s chef had refined his culinary skills.
Taking about five minutes to clear the table, Joshua then took the letter from Ying’s hands as the divine armament girl watched on in shock beside him.
“What, Ying, another urgent message?” He then asked casually.
“It’s not that urgent, but it is something written by Mister Nostradamus himself. I believe it’s better that Master opens it himself.”
The silver-haired girl had to compose herself and wipe away that image of her own master eating like a cyclone, before speaking with a slightly doubtful voice. “But weren’t you having a discussion with the old mage in the academy a few days ago? Why didn’t he mention it then?”
“Because it means that the letter is wrote something that happened just a few days ago.”
Opening the envelope, Joshua scanned through the letter with concentration, and his expression soon became solemn.
“The Nature’s Magister’s procession had arrived secretly at the Empire’s border yesterday” the warrior mumbled as he read. “A legendary champion is visiting, bringing along ambassadors from the Elven Court, His Majesty Emperor Israel would receive them in the Imperial Capital Both would enter a series of strategical partnership agreement in order to complement each other according to each’s advantages, mutual benefit, long-term cooperation and principles of mutual developmentthat’s the official statement, nothing to do with me.”
Bypassing the middling paragraphs that were mostly nonsensical content such as ‘cordial and friendly dialogue’, ‘strategic partnership’, Joshua looked at the final part.
“I see After the Nature’s Magister has her reception at the Imperial Capital she would head for the Great Ajax Volcano directly. The Empire’s reward would arrive around the same time, while I would lead the elven procession to check if see the dimensional doorway was still where it was, and whether they could head for Illgner.”
Largely understanding the meaning of the letter from Nostradamus, Joshua placed the letter on the table, muttering to himself.
He had long been prepared for that matter. The underground karst passageway that heads towards the depths of the Great Ajax Volcano had been excavated by the workers wearing enchanted armor. Whilst Joshua had not gone to take a look himself, the workers had claimed that there was a low chance that the dimensional portal was in good condition.
It should be noted that the one who had destroyed the dimensional portal was the Evil God of Calamity himself. The World Regulator Circle had lashed out in full-power, pulverizing Mount Sigma itself as well as blowing up the underground magma reservoir beneath it. The shockwave even caused the Great Ajax Volcano to show signs of pre-eruption on the other end. Naturally, Joshua knew that the dimensional portal would not be destroyed in its entirety, but to traverse it like normal was not possible now.
Still, the warrior was alright with that. Joshua just had to lead the Nature’s Magister procession to the location of the portalwith the expertise of the Legendary champion and the Elven Court, they would definitely find some traces the warrior would miss.
Perhaps they would really find the way to Illgner?
“What’s the matter, Master?”
Ying could not hold back her own curiosity as she stared at Joshua’s thoughtful look. She herself considered it, before asking softly, “Still hungry?”
“I’d still be hungry if I had ten times the courses I had just now. Of course, that’s not the issue,” Joshua replied, shaking his head before standing up and flexing his fingers. “Right. Ying, you’ll come with me to Mount Nissia for a bit later.”
Caressing the girl’s hair as she nodded, the warrior smiled. “I will prepare for a bit. We can’t have our visitors from a faraway land feel that we’re insincere.”