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Once Lazy And Luxurious
The sky in Norland was just as dark as in Faelor, especially over Floe Bay. The thick clouds were so low the top of the Deepblue almost pierced through them, and even though it was morning the sea was dark as dusk. All the s.h.i.+ps were anch.o.r.ed into the harbour, even the open sea s.h.i.+ps that moved with magic not daring to set off. In the high seas, the weather was the true master. No matter how grand and large a s.h.i.+p was, one wouldn’t dare go through a storm with it.
All the grand mages of the Deepblue were gathered at the conference room. It was time for their monthly meeting, and the figure of the legendary mage was missing as usual. Sharon had recently been coming and going in a hurry, showing her face for no more than half an hour each time. She would just open another portal, travelling to another plane.
The atmosphere in the hall was just as stressful as the weather outside. All of the mages looked glum, with no sunniness in sight.
Blackgold had a thick stack of papers in hand, and was reading out from it with a hoa.r.s.e voice that made it sound like his mouth was filled with wood shavings. This was the report for the income and expenditure of the Deepblue in the past month. The numbers indicated that the finances were improving rapidly— no, they were going straight up. The most significant part, the categories of income and profit, had doubled from the last month. If not for their consumption increasing greatly as well, the profits would have grown much more than twofold.
This was a number that could stir anyone up, but none of the grand mages could bring themselves to be happy. Even the dwarf himself was listless. Looking closely, one would realise that this increase in income had come solely from Sharon obtaining ample harvests during her journeys through the myriad planes. Every time she returned, she normally left some of her profits in the Deepblue.
She had gone to more planes in the past month than in the previous year. Normally in a hurry, she flung the spatial equipment with her harvests out and picked up new equipment. She would then set out immediately. She would hand Blackgold a list detailing the allocation of these things before tossing the huge pile of spatial rings, belts, bangles, and boxes over. She didn’t even want to waste time discussing how to split it up in detail with the dwarf.
The flow of time in every plane was different, which was why n.o.body knew how long the mage was spending out. However, the statistics in the financial report gave Blackgold a rough idea. The legendary mage was working hard in a way that she never had before, and the wealth of the Deepblue was growing at a startling rate. With the wisdom of the grand mages, this increase in finances was turned into a method to raise their strength or to build a new source of income. This also served to increase the Deepblue’s status on Norland.
However, they could not be happy with this upgrade.
Sharon could not hide the slight hints of fatigue whenever she returned. Her outfits seemed dusty and travel-worn, but even without resting she would leave once again. Her beloved fruits and snacks had already filled up the storage room, but if Blackgold didn’t stuff some into her spatial equipment each time she wouldn’t even think of taking them along on the journey.
The legendary mage was the soul of the Deepblue. When she lost her smile, the sky above Floe Bay would turn gloomy.
Blackgold was vexed as well. This was the first time in his life that these high numbers were aggravating in his eyes. He wanted to kick all this wealth from different planes away.
He would rather go back to the time when there was only a slight increase in income every month, when he worried about the increasing deficits. He did not want to see the legendary mage so dedicated. The myriad planes were rife with dangers. Sharon surpa.s.sed normal legendary beings, but every time she explored a foreign plane there was the possibility that the trip was only one way.
It was when Sharon spent all day eating lazily that she was a true inspiration.
The long, tedious financial report turned into a hypnotic weapon under Blackgold’s monotonous voice. Practically all of the grand mages were half asleep.
The elements in the room suddenly grew lively the next moment, the smooth flow of mana turning into a storm that blew the grand mages everywhere. A portal appeared out of the blue above the table, and Sharon jumped out. Her golden hair was tied casually in a ponytail, her blue robes showing signs of damage and corrosion. Her little face was even stained with dirt.
The legendary mage seemed like a girl next door who had just returned from a long journey. Under her robes were pants and shoes that were suited to travel, her normal extravagant clothes nowhere in sight. She jumped onto the conference table just like every other time, but this time it could not hold out. A crash rang out as the table broke apart into a pile of debris.
Only a few months ago, this would have enraged the legendary mage. She would start looking into the quality of the table, kicking up a mediocre storm. Now, however, she just stared at it blankly with seemingly no intention of flaring up.
Truth be told, the table was still the same one that could handle a mammoth weighing several tons. The real reason it was destroyed was that Sharon had a huge bundle on her back that was much larger than her body.
The grand mages all had a strange look in their eyes, unable to guess what exactly was in the bundle that she had to carry it on her back so clumsily. Was all her spatial equipment full? The portals Sharon cast consumed a lot of mana. Without spatial equipment to seal it, any item she carried through would greatly increase the drain.
She shook her right hand, six rings coming off and flying towards Grandmaster Fayr, “Put these in my personal warehouse.”
Before Fayr could sigh at the mage’s sheer control to have two rings a finger, Sharon switched the hand carrying the bundle and sent three more rings and two bangles towards Blackgold, “These will enter the Deepblue’s stores. Also, get me new equipment.”
“It’s already prepared!” the dwarf immediately took a little pouch out of his robes, the insides clanging from the spatial rings and bangles filling it.
At some point, the legendary mage had started to wear more and more spatial equipment. n.o.body knew her limit, but at the least it could not be counted on one’s fingers. With Sharon’s appearances growing more and more unpredictable, the dwarf always had spatial equipment on his person with some common supplies within.
The redundancy of so many items cost them a fair amount of money. The dwarf knew that property left idle would not garner profits. However, if it could save the legendary mage some time then these idle items did have value and their cost could be absorbed.
Two pieces of paper flew towards Fayr and Blackgold, “This is the plan to distribute and handle everything. Do as instructed.”
Both were made of magical paper that could be inscribed with a grade 8 spell, but Sharon was only using it for notes. The legendary mage then produced a little box from somewhere, tossing it to the dwarf, “Organise the things in here. Put them together with the special items from my last two visits, and send them all to little Gaton in Faust.”
The grey dwarf caught the flying box, rings, and bangles in a flurry, “I’ll get to it immediately!”
The legendary mage nodded in satisfaction. “Alright then, I’ll be off.” She opened a portal, taking the giant bundle and disappearing within.
“Wait! Your Excellency, you forgot to take your fruits!” the dwarf jumped up, raising a little spatial box that was enchanted to preserve food. However, Sharon had already made it far away. All that was left in the conference room was remnant ripples of mana.
Gaton wasn’t in Faust, instead within Blackrose Castle in the traditional land of the Archerons.
The charming scenery of the peninsula had disappeared from the fields outside the city of Azan. With Blackrose Castle at the heart, great numbers of barracks had been erected extending to the outside of the city. More than 40,000 soldiers had been gathered here.
Eight of the thirteen rune knights had already reached Blackrose Castle. An army of sixty rune knights was stationed outside, most of Gaton’s military strength. The five remaining ones were the bare minimum requirement to keep a hold of his personal planes.
It wasn’t just Gaton’s banner in the barracks outside the city. A dozen or so camps had different flags flying high, although there were few troops stationed there. There were less than five hundred in the most populous one, with about a dozen in the least. Every branch family of the Archerons with basically any status had been gathered here.
The atmosphere in Blackrose Castle was as gloomy as the clouds over Floe Bay. The smell of sulphur and smoke pervaded the air of the meeting hall, making it evident that the people sitting around the table weren’t in a good mood.
Gaton was sat alone at the head, looking exhausted. The stubble all over his face made it known that he hadn’t shaved for quite some time, and his eyes were bloodshot. At the right side of his neck was a thin wound that had just clotted over, looking like a new injury. Although the injury itself was insignificant, the position pointed to the risk he had suffered in that attack.
This was a meeting of all the Archerons. Despite being the family head, Gaton didn’t seem the least bit impressive amongst them. His muddy boots were set on the table, arms crossed and eyes slightly closed as if he were napping. This att.i.tude angered practically everyone present, and the hall was resounding with criticism.