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It took Richard a while to realise Mountainsea’s secret. She wasn’t really particular about the taste the food offered, no. What interested her instead was the amount of nutrients packed within. The discovery made him feel like she’d even gnaw on magic crystals if she could.
Outside of eating, the most important part of her life seemed to be sleep. This was especially true just after meals, when she’d immediately fall into deep sleep. She slept as Richard meditated, worked, and studied, only leaving him to play in some unknown corner of the Deepblue when he had lessons to attend. Most of the time, she was within five metres of him.
She continued to ‘abide’ by the laws, taking up just enough classes as was required for a personal apprentice of the legendary mage, but the only use of this timetable of hers was in calculating her monthly payments.
She also didn’t seem to understand the meaning of reservations. She never tried to avoid Richard, even when she showered, so he had to get used to her beautiful slender body. Her emerald skin was glossy like silk, and looked so tender to the touch it made his imagination run wild. On top of everything, her long straight legs were enough to make any man go crazy.
Richard was already a man, so sleeping next to her was a nightly torture. She couldn’t keep her hands to herself in bed, taking every chance she could to lie on Richard’s chest. She’d eventually end up wrapped around him, leaving their private parts in close proximity. At the peak of his vitality with an ever-hungry bloodline and food curated specifically for such purposes, it was unbearable for him to be so close to her.
“We’re just friends, just friends…” he muttered to himself whenever he failed to fall asleep, suppressing the urge to press down on the unrivalled beauty with overflowing youthfulness. Sometimes he looked at her face in sound sleep and comforted himself, “This isn’t my choice…”
He didn’t realise that he didn’t lose energy during the day despite the restless sleep, nor was his progress slowed. He also didn’t understand the danger of trying to subdue the girl until a mosquito flew nearby one day.
Mosquitoes were exotic creatures. It was impossible to keep them out even as a legendary mage, and they existed even in the Deepblue. However, as the particular mosquito barrelled towards Mountainsea’s face under Richard’s close scrutiny, it was only able to reach a metre’s radius of her before a soft pop left it vanished into thin air. All that was left in its wake was a faint green trail of smoke. It had left him in cold sweat.
For her first few days moved in, Mountainsea disappeared whenever Richard had classes. She said she performed all kinds of activities, including fishing with her tribe. However, she seemed more and more disinterested in such things as time passed, spending increasing amounts of time with Richard. She was even following him to classes. Urazadzu and Steelrock were hardly seen as well, and her guards seemed to be enjoying a rare vacation.
However, this caused the grey dwarf who was observing everything quietly to grow more nervous. The responsibility for Mountainsea’s safety had just fallen on his shoulders. Putting his duty and the possible consequences aside, the Deepblue’s annual finances were dependent on Mountainsea as well, and that was enough to make Blackgold more careful than ever. Personally, too, every time he looked at Mountainsea it was like seeing the largest and most abundant mine of his life. His feelings for her were beyond worship and adoration; as long as this mine so much as walked past him, he would be up in the clouds for a long while.
So the grey dwarf decided to give his all in protecting Mountainsea, specially increasing the number of enforcers around Richard’s residence and public areas twofold, as well as adding a fully equipped rune knight to the patrol. The number of mages that were on duty the sentry points on each level were also doubled, and the seventeen grand mages were stationed at the ground floor of the tower so they could take immediate action in case of emergency.
The borders of the Deepblue were surrounded by a dark aura, and many in the grey areas of life were alerted as the atmosphere around them grew more tense. It was as if a pair of invisible eyes was posted at every dark corner, staring at them, watching their every move. The street rats were hypersensitive to any possible danger, and the grey dwarf had added a thousand magic eyes at the borders in one go. That may have been a little too much, but the message was clear and it also brightened up the grey districts.
A few rats seemed unable to get a hold of the situation, still going on the hunt even if they sensed danger thinking that they were invincible. However, curiosity was a deadly weapon. Any that ventured out disappeared without a trace into the gloomy night, as if they’d never even existed.
Any who dared find trouble with the grey dwarf at this critical juncture would realise the fear his drunken kin inspired when enraged. The grey dwarf did not need a warning accompanied by great fanfare— the disappearances were notice enough. Eventually, all the mice went back to hiding in their nests.
Naya’s mood hadn’t been pleasant the last few days. The bloody smell lingering in his kitchen would take a long time to fade, and the putrid stench turned his dishes foul. It also added a weird smell to the wines stored in the cellar. Truth be told, the longer one stayed in the underworld the more they would grow to hate the smell of blood. The only exceptions were perverts.
Another reason for Naya’s mood was that he’d already done so much for Blackgold, but the dwarf hadn’t allowed him to pay a single coin less in tax. The grey dwarf had felt it inappropriate for the enforcers to step into the borders with nothing having happened, so the dirty work was left to the Blade of Calamity and his brothers. His dagger that had been used to execute major characters had been stained by rats’ blood.
Even killers had their dignity, and when Naya complained to Blackgold that he couldn’t take it anymore, the dwarf only replied with a “The times have changed.” The times changed, yes, but the tax never did. That was something the grey dwarf knew to be unwritten rules.
This had gotten an angry reprimand from Naya. “Unwritten rules, what utter bullshit!” he cursed, of course only in secret and after the grey dwarf left. He had no choice but to continue searching earnestly for the rats that didn’t know better, feeling his heart ache at the amount of tax he would have to pay the month. His monthly tax was already greater than the yearly profits of his small tavern.
Naya was still willing to do this sort of tough work for the dwarf, however, because Blackgold possessed immeasurable power. And indeed, he couldn’t escape the pursuit of the legendary mage either. But the true reason he was willing to work so hard was that he’d already fallen deeply in love with the peace and stability in the Deepblue. He loved to watch Richard grow under his guidance, day by day by day.