183 Sword and Sorcery 1
Draco's eyes narrowed. "Make me a Mage God? Old fart, why should I agree? How could something like that even exist?"
Richmond simply folded his arms and remained smilingly in that infuriating manner, like he lamented Draco's endless ignorance.
"You may not want it, simply because you are unaware of what being a Mage God entails. What does and doesn't exist is only up to each person to decide. The saying 'where there's a will, there's a way' didn't emerge from a cow."
Draco scoffed. "Old Freak, no need to pose before me. You have come all the way here, so how about you speak goddamn English and say what you want to say properly."
Richmond sighed, as if he was saddened by Draco's impatient youthfulness. Now it was Riveting Night who had to hold Draco back from cutting Richmond into pieces.
"How well do you understand the power ranking of this world?"
Richmond suddenly dropped the jokes and became serious, which instantly changed the aura around him. Even Draco and Riveting Night forgot about his shamelessness and were reminded that he was one of the apex Hidden Powers in all of Boundless.
"There are Adventurers, Lords, Kings, Emperors, Demi-Gods, Godlings and Gods," Draco answered calmly.
Richmond nodded then shook his head. "That is right yet wrong at the same time. It is true that in terms of combative ability, those ranks denote one's progress."
The old mage's eyes gleamed as he reached here. "However, there are many fields in this world and the combat ranks do not denote them all. For example, you yourself occupy another field as a capable Tradeskill member, so you know that those have their own ranks. In fact, putting aside those other fields, the combat ranks you know don't even display the full rankings."
Draco and Riveting Night were confused. Was Richmond going to say something like 'there exists higher Ranks' next? If he did, wouldn't that be too…?
"The reason I say this is because the combat Ranks are absolute, but not very specific," Richmond added.
Now the Evil Duo were even more confused. Where was he even going with this?
"I can see you're perplexed. Perhaps a demonstration will be more helpful to bring my point across. Well, look at this." Richmond suggested with a smile.
He stretched his hand out and a ball of fire came to life inches away from his palm. The fire billowed in the gentle breeze, looking harmless and - quite frankly - a bit cute.
However, Draco and Riveting Night stared at the ball with spooked glances, their goosebumps rising all over.
There were three reasons.
The first was that this was organic fire, meaning that it was the product of a spell. However, instead of being cast outwards, Richmond himself was easily able to maintain it. This was admittedly impressive, but it would not be enough to freak those old two monsters out so much.
The second was that Richmond did not use mana to perform this spell, but pure Worldly Energy. This meant that he had the ability to use Worldly Energy directly without conversion.
From what they knew about him, Richmond was at least born a human, but given his long life span, it would not be surprising if he had found ways to elevate his State of Being to help him perform this feat.
The third and most important, it was a continuous cast, which meant that he was continuously directing Worldly Energy to fuel the spell. No, at this point, it was no longer a spell…
It was a technique!
This was what had the Evil Duo feel dismay and fear. Draco had recently acquired a fireball spell that would be lusted over by many Pyromancers in the world.
Yet, Richmond didn't even need a spellbook anymore. He could use Worldly Energy as a direct fuel - negating the need for mana - then generate the element of fire on his own - without the need for incantations or a spellbook - and fire it at will - meaning he could spam the attack infinitely and without cooldown - on his own.
It was suddenly clear why the other Rank 7 powers respected and feared Richmond. The shameless old man was truly deserving to be called a monster.
"This is an ability a Mage God possesses. I am not referring to a Mage who is a Rank 7 God, which is quite frankly a title of arrogance, but a true Mage God."
Richmond's reply suddenly cleared the fog in Draco's mind as he comprehended what he was saying.
"In between the State of Being called True God and the Combat Rank that some arrogant fellow had name Rank 7 God, exists a wide gap that is insurmountable. The former is able to use Divine Energy at will and can destroy whole continents with ease. The latter is really powerful, but ultimately still a mortal. And to mortals, the power these Rank 7 Gods can wield is reminiscent of Deities due to their limited worldview, hence the naming."
The fire in Richmond's palm suddenly grew in size as Worldly Energy was pulled into it. The heat and ferocity of the fireball also magnified, going from a cute little orb to a massive supernova that could end the world.
"However, there is a place in between True God and Rank 7 God."
Richmond tossed the huge fireball into the atmosphere. It flew up at abhorrent speeds before exploding far into the sky and causing a shockwave that shook the entire Noble's District.
"And that, my young and impatient little herald, is the Titled God."
Richmond folded his arms behind his back and smiled lightly. His bearing and disposition were really befitting of one of the world's greatest sages.
"The Mage God, Warrior God, Assassin Goddess, Blacksmith God, Alchemy God, and many others. We are the Titled Gods who are able to generate wisps of Divine Energy and obtain powers that no mortal can claim to have."
Richmond's voice became a bit dark at this point. "However, we are barred from leaving this realm like the other Gods... on paper. Since we possess Divine Energy, it is extremely hard."
Then, he smiled at Draco kindly. "Luckily, after becoming my herald, you have performed a great feat. As your master, I gained a Void Pass, which unconditionally allows one person to enter the Nexus of Worlds. From there I can choose which other realms I want to visit."
Draco interrupted Richmond here. "So why haven't you left?"
Richmond pointed at Draco. "Because of you."
Draco pointed to himself. "Because of me?"
Richmond pointed at Draco even harder. "Because of you!"
"As my herald, you have done me a great service. Even recently, you granted me an Icarus Heart through your exploits of becoming the very first Enchanting Grandmaster in this era, which can greatly boost my power over fire."
"I'll be frank with you. On one hand, I chose to stay because if you can do so great at this stage, you will likely do better as you grow, granting me more items."
"On the flipside, I cannot just take this and leave without giving anything back. Using my name to scare the others is fine and dandy, but you're an Immortal Adventurer. I know that you lot can come back, and if necessary, with new faces and bodies, despite your Immortal Spirit being destroyed."
"So, I thought that teaching you how to utilize the magic of a Mage God would be a great recompense. After all, I only gained my current power at Rank 7. You will learn to do this at Rank 1, though yours will naturally be much weaker."
"However, no magician in this world would be your match."
Richmond finished and a screen popped up before Draco.
｢Sword and Sorcery – Legendary Quest
Description: Study under Mage God Richmond for 60 days and pass all his tests to acquire the fixed title 'Mage God - Rank 1'
Draco was greatly moved. He had planned to spend the 90 days here crafting, practicing with a variety of weapons and being trained by Riveting Night and his aunt on his bloodline.
For Richmond, he finally realized that sitting around in this realm was doing him nothing but providing a punching bag for Nakiu. He had to head to another realm and accumulate power as soon as possible.
However, he was extremely unwilling. Draco could bring him greater things the stronger he became. Once he left for the Void Realm, the heraldry would be suspended and once he traveled to another realm, it would vanish unless he returned and accepted him as a herald once more.
As such, Richmond decided to teach Draco his techniques and turn him into a proper disciple. That way, Draco could grow stronger faster - and do crazier stuff - and he could hide himself from the world so that Nakiu couldn't find him.
When Draco reached Rank 4 or 5, he should have enough power to resist Rank 7 entities. At that time, Richmond could leave and accumulate power quickly before returning to send Nakiu to the shadow realm.
Draco pondered this quest for a bit and selected 'yes'. There was no logical reason for him to say no, apart from being an edgelord.
He didn't care about what hidden motivations Richmond had or whatever logic he used to justify why he was doing this. All Draco knew was that he would have to put in his all for 60 days and acquire a fraudulent title.
Since he planned to seclude himself for a while anyway, Richmond's timing was extremely perfect.
When Draco accepted the quest, Richmond smiled widely. He then nodded and approached Draco, examining him from head to toe. After doing such a strange and cursory check, he placed a hand on Draco's head.
Draco folded his arms and watched the old man impassively. He was surprised though, when he felt something like a cool breeze move over his body like a scan.
Richmond took his hand away and nodded.
"You have the bloodline of a Royal Demon, a Royal Devil, A Dark Archangel, a Black Dragon, and an Ultima Sunt. That is the most formidable lineup I have seen in all my years."
Draco wasn't surprised that Richmond could see his bloodline. After all, he did unlock bloodline compatibility, which meant that the system recognized and quantified his bloodline.
"Forget Worldly Energy, Aetheric Energy will be best for you to use. You can use Aetheric Energy instead of Divine Energy to achieve effects similar to Divine Energy, only that the power will be much weaker."
Richmond nodded as he said this, gently playing with his beard while he observed Draco with a smile.
"It would also be best to teach you about the other Titled Gods, who they are and where they reside. Their personalities and their quirks. Otherwise, I foresee that they might cause you endless trouble when I eventually leave."
After talking to himself and planning out a lesson schedule for Draco, Richmond shooed him away.
"Go and do whatever you want for the next 3 days. After that, report to me first thing in the morning so that we can begin your training."
Draco nodded and left with Riveting Night in tow.
Richmond still caressed his beard with a cryptic smile as his eyes fell on Riveting Night. "My suspicion was right, these two are different… hm. The girl might be even more of a monster than he is. I'll have to extract a good price from her, teehee."
Draco and Riveting Night settled in at the master bedroom. Unlike the Guild Hall, the room was organic, so it couldn't be manipulated. The bathroom was a super mini small world though, but Draco wasn't going to hide out there.
After making sure they were settled, Draco summoned the Head Maid. Verita was a young woman in her late twenties who had light yellow skin. Her eyes were shaped like almonds and had a naturally black outline.
Her nose was extremely small and her lips were like rosebuds. Her hair was tied into a maid's headdress, but it looked to be black in color. She wore a formal black and white maid attire that was not sexual in the least.
She bowed to Draco and Riveting Night once she entered the room. "How may I serve?"
"Summon the Alchemist, Blacksmith, Enchanter, and Engineer," Draco commanded languidly.
Verita bowed and shuffled away to carry out Draco's commands. The Evil Duo sat at the bar that was in the master bedroom and served themselves some cold drinks.
The two remarked on how exquisite the taste of the drinks was, as well as the estimated prices of them. By the time they finished about two different bottles of expensive wine, the four people Draco summoned arrived before him.
The Alchemist was a diminutive gnome who looked like some character in those old anime… what were they called?
Only that he was deeply wrinkled and wore some round spectacles. His expression was locked in a perpetual frown and he wore meticulous green robes.
His hair was a dark white and his eyes were blue. He held a book in front of him, indicating that he must have been studying before he had been disturbed.
Beside him was a young woman who had her red hair tied into a bun. Both of her eyes were sunken and ridged with a purple hue. She looked like she hadn't gotten any sleep in her life.
She had dark green eyes and an average nose. Her lips were thin and seemingly soft. Her skin was a very light tan and her height and weight seemed to be around Riveting Night's level.
She wore thick blue overalls, so one couldn't get a proper shape of her body through all those clothes. She stared at Draco with a foolish expression, just like a nerd loser would when faced with the school's Queen Bee.
Beside her was a young man who looked to be in his late teens. He wore a baggy robe that just made him look funny, as well as possessing freckles on his face. He had square rimmed spectacles, neatly cropped black hair and dark brown eyes.
He had a very plain face that looked unremarkable. He was currently frowning and mumbling to himself while drawing runes in the air.
The final person was a…
What the fuck?
The final person was a young girl who looked to be around 11 years old. She sat on the floor while tinkering with some things, a surprisingly serious expression on her face unbefitting of someone of that age.
She had golden-brown hair that was styled into a bob cut, light blue eyes, and creamy skin. She was quite cute, invoking the wish to pamper and spoil in all adults who gazed at her.
She wore a pristine white dress that looked like it reflected all the filth of the world.
Draco first inspected each and everyone of them.
｢Name: Herto – Rank 5 Alchemist
｢Name: Camilla – Rank 5 Blacksmith
｢Name: Harry – Rank 5 Enchanter
｢Name: Genevieve – Rank 5 Engineer
Interesting, Rank 5 Tradeskill NPCs. They should either be Expert Rank or Master Rank crafters. If they were Expert Rank it meant that - excluding external stuff like tools, titles or items - their default success rate for Rare items would be 55%.
If they were Master Rank, their default success rate for Epic items would be 45%, which was quite impressive. Of course, this was assuming they had reached the maximum level of their Tradeskill before reaching the next Rank.
Draco clapped his hands loudly and obtained the attention of the four Tradeskill masters who resided in the Castle officially.
"From left to right, introduce yourselves to me," Draco asked calmly, not even bothering to look at them.
Whether they were miffed by their Lord's behavior or not, none of the four showed it. They humbly introduced themselves in the correct order.
"My name is Herto, and I am a level 78 Master Rank Alchemist."
"My name is Camilla, and I am a level 75 Master Rank Blacksmith."
"My name is Harry, and I am a level 73 Master Rank Enchanter."
"My name is Genevieve, and I am a level 80 Master Rank Engineer."
Draco left the rest of the talking to Riveting Night. "What are your success rates for crafting Epic Ranked products within your Tradeskills?"
Realizing that something was wrong with the way their Lord was behaving, the Tradeskill masters didn't hesitate to answer.
"I have a 48% success rate on Epic potions and 49% on Epic poisons," Herto said seriously.
"I have a 49% success rate with Epic weapons and armor," Camilla answered worriedly.
"I have a 47% success rate with Epic Enchantments," Harry answered indifferently.
"I have a 56% success rate with Epic contraptions and a 15% success rate with Common War Weapons," Genevieve answered proudly.
Draco nodded languidly. "You can return."
The four were confused. Did he just call them over to ask these questions? They at least thought that he would give them some tasks to perform on his behalf.
That was why they had even moved there in the first place. The Rank 7 Castle offered facilities that greatly increased their craft and progression, allowing them to climb by leaps and bounds in the month or less that it had been built.
Now, they couldn't help but feel insecure. They were all Master Ranks in their respective fields, but so what? In order to work in the Castle, they had signed very, very tight contracts that basically made them slaves.
However, the facilities in this Rank 7 Castle were unprecedented. They could theoretically give them a 20% chance to become Grandmasters with enough time. One should note that the normal success chance was below 1%.
They had fought terribly with other Master Rank Tradeskill masters of their respective fields, pulling strings, calling favors and even gifting hefty promises to others if they were the ones selected when the Castle had been built.
They had been given a period of peace to work, and they had enjoyed it immensely. However, the Lord had summoned them, so they had to drop what they were doing and heed his call.
Usually, one would ignore the stringent terms of a contract when signing, due to the presence of benefits that came with it. It was only when it was time to fulfill the terms they agreed to that they would feel the contract was unfair.
Now, these four were wondering why they had even signed it in the first place. After all, the damages they would have to pay for using the Lord's Castle to benefit themselves if he dismissed them were hefty.
Fair? Definitely not.
However, once one signed, that was it. No matter how much you might regret it, you were bound by the terms. The warning 'read the fine print' wasn't said by a mountain goat.
The Tradeskill masters could only leave the room of the Evil Duo, feeling that something was wrong.