Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
While the adventure to come was certainly interesting and worth looking forward to, Joshua still had certain important matters to do at the moment.
After deciding a few details about exploring the dimensional anomaly with Nostradamus and Israel, the trio left Fairyland and returned to central Morlaix Palace.
On the way, several fairies came to bid them farewell under the decree by the Four Fair Queens to congratulate Nostradamus and Joshua’s recent rise to Legendary. Having a comprehensive information pathway, the fairies were actually quite aware of the state of the continentit was due to the earth-element Fairy Queen’s maiming by the Great Mana Tide’s turbulence, with the other three also dealt variable degree of injuries that the Fairyland become under lockdown from outside links, and were unable to send envoys to the North in time.
Meanwhile, although Nostradamus did not have anything urgent on hand after ascending into Legendary, the old mage still had to readjust the magical formations around the Imperial City before consolidating his powers at his residence. His walk from the Void Star-Observatory and the ascension into Legendary had torn the dimensions apart, which was why the dimensional anchoring circle over the entire Imperial Capital was damaged severelythe side-effect of his sensational unveiling.
Israel himself had to do some housekeepingwhich, for an Emperor, was his administrative duties. His months of absence from the Imperial Capital allowed ominous waves to grow within, with many restless nobles and factions needing some suppression from His Majesty. Apart from that, many Imperial border matters were also waiting for him, which means that Israel probably would not have time to do other things during the Spring Day Festival.
As for Joshua.
“Let’s go. Ying, 03, I’ve kept you waiting.”
Scooping up Ying who had been waiting in the hall and placing her on his shoulders, Joshua took 03’s hands and adjusted his strength so that she would be lifted slightly and not break the Morlaix Palace carpets, floor tiles or any other such thing.
“Let’s go for a stroll in the carnival.”
“Alright, Master!” Ying agreed happily. The girl was long used to Joshua’s prompt departure since there must have been something to do.
“Too slow, Joshua.” 03 complained, although she docilely held the warrior’s hand. “Where have you gone to?”
There was nothing much to talk about their stroll since none was dumb enough to strike up conversations with the Legendary warrior’s female companions, or were there any nobles whose brain were kicked around by an ass who would provoke the Northern Count. In fact, members of the Feltham and Seward families who bore a grudge with Joshua had long since retreated, leaving just a few fringe family personnel to learn the news.
Furthermore, Joshua was still using the secret method to shield his presence. Most people would not be able to notice his existence albeit all the passerby around him would sense an unusual fear and chilliness. Quite a few were mumbling if there were specters appearing in the vicinity, while a great many of them did not know Joshua’s appearance even if they did hear of Count Radcliffe’s name before. That was why whenever Ying and 03 wanted to buy something and the warrior had to pay, the owner or the treasurer would not show any special react apart from being surprised by the suddenly appearing trio.
Otherwise, there would be a bunch of people passing out wherever the warrior wenthow would they have a walk then?
At the commercial lane of Empress Avenue, Joshua unexpectedly found Brandon and Vale Dani at the Frost Diamond Merchant Guild, with Brandon animatedly discussing topics such as the current state of affairs as well as Empress Edna’s blunder today. The violet-haired countess, on the other hand, indifferently muttered some affirmatives and asked silkily why the swordsman would be paying attention to the other noble ladies and Empress Edna.
It was certainly a fine question that even Brandon, who had gone through thousands of battles and ascend into Supreme could not answer satisfactorily. Still, he could retort with some truths such as he definitely has to be concerned about the affairs in the Imperial Capital because he was the heir of the Kaos family after allnonetheless, things would not go well when the couple return home.
Not long afterward, when he saw them again in another luxury merchant guild, Joshua noticed that Vale Dani’s neck was suddenly wearing an exquisite necklace made out of [Aram Crystals]. The precious crystal, found deep underground, was rumored to be even more valuable than mithril ten times its weight. It seems that Brandon had bled, profusely.
Speak prudently, O friend of mine.The warrior shook his head rather ruefully, but he could tell that the blond swordsman was quite happy too.
“What are you looking at, Joshua?”
The warrior looked downwards beside him towards the voice. 03 was not actually concerned about Joshua’s movements and was probably just asking since the A.I. lady’s gaze was focused at a large layer of crystal ore before her.
It was the exhibit area of the Ash Gray Merchant Guild from the Sand Plains of Corroding Winds. They are the largest luxury item traders in the southeastern region of the Empire. In front of Joshua’s trio were purple crystal ores, a natural mana gem that was only next to Aram crystals and other rare minerals. It was used mostly for carving runesa cornerstone for large-scale magic circles.
Come to think of it, was not 03’s true form similar to a huge piece of runic crystal?
Knowing that, how could Joshua not understand the A.I. lady’s thought?
“Let’s buy it,” he said with a wave of his hand.
Even as the warrior wantonly purchased items in the Imperial Capital, the noontime sun was shining out diagonally out of the rolling clouds deep within the Great Ajax Mountains in the North. It shot towards the earth that had recently defrosted from the snow and layered the emerald forest with an eye-catching golden halation, formally announcing the arrival of spring.
Magma rumbled as it undulated within the depths of the slumbering Great Ajax Volcano, while layers of Dark Forests were growing upon the crevices on its surface through the fertile volcanic ash. As the residual symbolic will of the Evil God of Fertility, the liveliness here carried endless monsters that threatened citizens of the various Northern provinces and were the hunting target of countless adventurers from distant lands. After all, the creatures that grew amidst volcano and extreme cold are very rare and incredibly valuable.
But however valuable they were, they would never compare to one.
Be it Astral dragons, Old-World dragons or any other draconic species, their existence alone meant gold and merit. There were many treasures to be acquired even from a silver dragon with dragon-blood, for example, their highly toxic and acidic blood would be purchased by alchemists at a high price while those light but sturdy leather was a pursuit of many an adventure. Not to mention those razor claws and fangs that could be used to forge daggers and short bladesindeed, the feat of killing a silver dragon would promote one up to a knight or even a baron in some nations.
With silver dragons already being so valuable, it was almost unnecessary to describe the values of Astral Dragons or high-tier Old-World Dragons which flesh had an equal value to gold. No creature would surpass them in pure value, with the crystallizations over a Supreme-tier Star Crown Dragon’s earning one enough money to purchase an entire city in the West Mountains while the poison sac of high-grade green dragons could be crafted into a biological weapon that could kill tens of thousands of people. Their financial value alone was above luxury items and equate to incomparably rare materials for war. Killing a single dragon would additionally earn a ‘dragon-slayer’ title and worship from the masses, because that was the greatest proof of power.
Still, there was in another creature that was even precious than them.
Creatures that live within legends and history, Ancient Dragons had already fallen into silence in the last era. However, the last sighting of an Ancient Dragon was four hundred years ago in the North. At the time, to banish the Ancient Dragonbanish, not huntthe Emperor had to send hundreds of Gold-tier champions and multiple Supreme champions to hold the rear, with a Legendary mage on standby. The cost of dispatching such an expedition would have straightaway bankrupted a smaller nation or throw a heavy burden on an Empire. Even so, when the Ancient Dragon was ascertained to have left in the end, not one individual thought that the vigilant actions were a waste of manpower of resourcein fact, everyone was rejoicing that they did not have to face such a being as its opponent.
Such was the worth of an Ancient Dragon. Its presence was comparable to an empire whereas rumors about it would make a whole country be cautious. It was not ‘combat’ to stand against it, but ‘war’.
That was why, with the monumental preciousness of Ancient Dragons, there was a category of adventurers that had been single-out from the other adventurers. Known as Ancient Dragon Chasers, they pursue any information about Ancient Dragons and search for traces of their presence, dedicating their lives to finding the land in which those dragons of legends slumbered.
And amongst the more reputed amongst the Ancient Dragon Chasers were the two Legendary champions, ‘Rune Lord’ Barnil and ‘Mind Lord’ William.
Thanks to their childhood dreams, the two Legendary individuals determinedly decided in their youth to give up all riches and inheritance and wandered the lands all along, searching for every hint for Ancient Dragons. They had visited the most dangerous forbidden lands and entered the most hidden of ruins, having parted ways and subsequently combining forces again due to various things.
Despite that, they had discovered over ten unseen places where Ancient Dragons once rested, finding many extremely concealed special zones such as [Ice Crown of Supreme Cold], [Sacred Lava Domain], [Sky-Thunder Tower] or [Glaciated Summit], even finding fossils of Ancient Dragon claws in islands overseas.
Still, until now, they never find one genuine, living Ancient Dragon.
“This isn’t good, Willliam. We had already searched the Northern Realm for almost a yearif this keeps up, the Skypiercing White Tower would remove our status as Special Mages.”
The two Legendary mages were standing on a peak deep within the Great Ajax Mountains, with the seemingly older mage plucking his own eye out of its socket in annoyancea fake crystal eye carved with compactly arranged runes. “The scent of Ancient Dragons here in the North is the thickest that I’ve ever seen in my life,” the elderly mage who appeared very hygienic said, shaking his head. “We would have searched this place long ago if not for the Empire who kept prohibiting our entry, and there would have been a need to use the excuse of safeguarding someone else’s territory to stay here.”
“Certainly. The sheet of magma found beneath the Great Ajax Volcano was indisputably similar to the [Sacred Lava Domain] we came across. The Ancient Dragon that once rested there should be related to the [Ancient Molten-Steel Mountain Dragon].”
The man beside him, who appeared to be younger and resembled a wandering poet nodded and yet appeared disappointed. “But it’s the same as beforehowever we look, we never catch the whereabouts of the Ancient Dragon.”
Though exasperated and disappointed, the two understood that it was the norm for Ancient Dragon Chasers. In fact, apart from them and their single-minded focus to find a breathing Ancient Dragon, other Ancient Dragon Chasers had long dropped away and became bounty peddlers, dabbing in the trade of peddling Ancient Dragon relics. It should naturally be noted, of course, that people would come in droves to purchase a trace amount of blood stone or a minuscule bone shard.
What was more, William was aware that the liege of this territorythe new Legendary warrior Joshua van Radcliffe had once bought some Ancient Dragon blood and Ancient Dragon bone shards from a junior Ancient Dragon chaser of his. It was allegedly for that dragon-blooded warhorse of his to awaken its bloodline and ascension.
“Wait!” The Mind Lord could not help frowning at the thought, and shoved his best friend’s shoulder beside him. “Barnil, you old codger. Did you mistake Count Radcliffe’s black dragonthat one which possesses Ancient Dragon bloodlineas the scent of Ancient Dragons? If that’s true, you can truly retire and become an instructor in the Skypiercing White Tower.”
“Rubbish, you’re no younger than I am! And how could I be mistakenthere’s a world of difference between the scent of mixed-dragon ancestry and the scent of pure Ancient Dragons!”
The prim old man promptly blew at his own mustache and threw a glare. Being long-time acquaintances, the two did not have to maintain the usual stateliness and aloofness of Legendary champions. Who would be scaredwho is afraid of who after all those years anyway?
However, Barnil frowned too. “You might be right. The North is filled with the scent of dragons and part of it could have emanated from that black dragon mount. Its smell would not mix with real Ancient Dragons but would still have affected our judgment such as by preventing our pursuits in some key areas. It is very likely it could mislead.
“Well, we should widen search area. This time, filter that black dragon and its master’s scentno, just completely block the trace of all humans and creatures in Moldavia.”
With those words, Barnil and William closed their eyes at the same time.
Soon, large sheets of dense runic circles appeared before themthe [Detection Circle specialized for Ancient Dragons] that they never ceased perfecting until it was finished.
In an instant, the spirits of two Legendary spellcasters spread through the entire Northern Realm through the circle, prompting a faint fear in every man and creature above Gold-tier.
It was also a reason why they did not often use the circle since it could easily be misidentified as a provocation, and could only be used at this moment since Joshua and the others were not around.
After some time, the two Legendary champions opened their eyes, their expressions turning unusual.
Moving in secrecy from the West Mountains, the demon Raldan Asth had just crossed the Northern border. After long, careful movements, it managed to evade all detection circles within the Imperial territory, arriving at the territory of the Northern Count who once killed its doppelganger and was heavily related to the events in which the flames of the Mycroft Continent was reignited.
But it did not know what awaits it.