The Runesmith - Chapter 333
“I told you that I didn’t want to be disturbed, Reginald. I hope for your sake that you have a good reason for this…”
“My sincere apologies but the black ravens have sent an emergency report.”
“An emergency? Could Julius be planning something? It can’t be Ivan so it should be, Tybalt?”
“It’s from the Fauland region, My Lord.”
“From that bastard? Did something happen to Emmerson? … Just give me the report.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
The butler strutted in while holding a letter with a raven seal on it. This time around it was a tad different as instead of it being black, it was slightly crimson in coloring. Theodore Valerian the master of this place started going through the writing. His eyes traced the letters with haste as he couldn’t believe what the letter was saying. Soon enough the whole piece of paper was a crumbled-up mess which he threw into the nearby fireplace.
“How did he manage to fail? Was he this incompetent… Was there a variable? No, this doesn’t make sense… Who is this unknown Knight? Could that bastard be working with one of them…”
The man leaned back in his chair while thinking. A lot of things didn’t make sense to him, the main thing being that Arthur had acquired a Head Knight that was above Emmerson in strength. Even though he had failed his defeat should have not come that easy, a regular platinum adventurer would have not been able to achieve this task.
“Have the Ravens gathered more information, did that bastard say anything?”
“Not yet My Lord, we are waiting for their demands, many of our knights have been detained but no price has been presented to us.”
“It would be unsightly to contact them first, so wait…”
“Should I contact the accountant?”
The man leaned back in his chair while continuously trying to figure out who was really behind all of this. It made no sense that his younger brother would be able to achieve something like this. There had to be someone backing him and his brothers were the obvious source of that.
His image of an honorable leader had to be kept. Even though he wanted to let every one of those knights rot, it would be a blemish on his name. After reading the report it seemed that the duel was justified but he could always attempt to deny those claims. Before he reached a decision he needed more information, Theodore was not someone hasty, now that a variable appeared it was time to take a step back.
“Have the Ravens monitor Albrook, I want to know if any of my brothers came in contact with that Bastard, I don’t care if you have to search the main house for some proof, they could have been working together since the start!”
“Yes, My Lord.”
The butler nodded while hearing out the orders. His eyes glanced at the man before him that continued to throw out slow orders. Each time he took a little bit of time to think over his spoken words and remained calm. His build wasn’t too big nor too small and his facial features were considered quite handsome just like all of his brothers.
His nature of acting only within his means and if the information he gathered allowed him to, had brought him this far. Already the Butler could see him trying to predict a few moves ahead of the unknown opponent to figure out the puzzle that was presented to him. While the caution he displayed was the safest approach it sometimes prevented him from achieving a breakthrough.
Soon the man left with a list of orders to carry out. With a B-rank dungeon escaping their grasp this issue was becoming larger than any of them anticipated. Now with the threat of one of the other brothers getting involved, there was not much time to be wasted. However before a full report could be made, he did not see his master making an aggressive comeback.
‘That clears up things with Arthur but what now?’
Roland was on his way home after eviscerating Emmerson in the sanctioned duel. His talk with Arthur also ended and the only thing that he wanted to do now was to get back home. Even though the platinum adventurers were said to be coming soon, this wasn’t his concern anymore. He had left in a rush so now the only thing on his mind was the people at home. His old armor had been trashed in the fight not by his opponent but by his own runes.
Only now after the live battle test did he have enough data for his Rapid Machine Reassembly skill. It was now clear to him that it wasn’t limitless and the more it was used the more of the creation was lost. Each and every time he recreated his armor some of the materials were lost. At the end, there was nothing left to restore as the connections between the molecules holding the structures together were fully destroyed.
‘At least it leveled up a lot…’
Rapid Machine Reassembly had been the last skill he received from his Runic Engineer class. At this time it had reached level eight and was close to reaching the maximum. It was still a tier 2 skill that had been used multiple times on high-grade equipment such as the golems and his armor. Restoring so many complicated runic components while engaged in combat boosted the skill’s leveling potential.
‘I wonder if it’s going to upgrade into a new skill after level nine.’
He was not sure if this was possible but if his Overlord class was prestigious enough, there was a possibility. It was a given that all of the skills he gained as a Runesmith Lord could be turned into higher tier 3 versions of them as the class was a direct upgrade of the old one.
Considering that the Overlord class was a prestige class above the likes of Master Runesmith, there was a possibility of it also being one above a tier 3 Master Rune Engineer. It would have been a blessing if this was the case as he could see himself using this skill in the future a lot.
While he was immersed in his thoughts he heard a familiar howl. His home was still out of view and covered by trees. This didn’t stop his fateful companion from running out to greet him. The sight of the ruby wolf that had a brush with death brought a smile to his face.
“Agni, are you feeling better?”
The ruby hound was quick to jump into his master’s arms. Any regular person would have their body fly back in the opposite direction due to the weight and momentum. Roland with his current stats was like a brick wall but to make things easier on his injured wolf, he decided to roll with it and landed on his back.
“Hey, stop licking my face…”
Roland responded to the barrage of licks coming his way. The helmet that he usually wore had become bent out of shape to the point of him removing it. This gave Agni the perfect opportunity to slobber all over his face. Normally he would have pushed him off by now but after seeing Agni almost die had softened him up.
“Okay… that’s actually enough now…”
Yet after giving his wolf a bit of leeway his face had become drenched in slobber. Soon enough he found himself pushing the overzealous wolf away while also noticing that he didn’t come alone. Right behind him was a person with elongated ears that was quick to give him a shout.
“Wayland is that you?”
“Lobelia? What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean? I heard what happened and rushed over! Now that I see your face, It does fit a Knight.”
“So, you know…”
Lobelia smiled while giving Roland a thumbs up. She was part of the thieves guild so it wasn’t strange that she already knew the news. Something like a Head Knight appearing out of nowhere would have spread quite fast. All the underground companies that sold information would be quick to inform their patrons of this event.
The name of Wayland the Runesmith would now be changed to Wayland the Head Knight. For a moment he considered giving himself a second secret identity. During the debacle, his face was covered by his helmet. It might have been possible to still be a craftsman at day and Knight at night as long as he didn’t show his face.
He had to throw that idea out of the window fast though. First of all, there would be a problem in justifying the duel. The deed to the land was still in his original name. It was possible to falsify the records with Arthur’s name but it was dangerous. If any spy managed to find out, Theodore would have an excuse to retaliate.
Then also as a Knight, he needed to follow certain standards. Sometimes removing his helmet before a noble was a must. Sooner or later his identity would be exposed so he gave up on that idea. Instead, he decided to focus on getting stronger along with figuring out his standing within this world.
‘Now that I think about it, who can I really trust here…’
After going through more than a year of warfare his outlook on the world had changed. The trial showed him that when going into the world of nobility and leadership one had to know their allies. He would be going into a new world filled with subterfuge, schemes, and liars. This was the thing that he was hoping to avoid after having to spend five years as a child in the Arden Household. Even to this day he was convinced that someone had sent that soldier to kill him.
‘I should make a list.’
Lobelia here started wrestling around with Agni as the two headed back to his home. Along the way, they started discussing the event that transpired.
“So not much is known yet, that’s good. Can I ask you a question?”
“Oh? Ask away!”
“Have you ever thought of expanding into a different field of work?”
“Different field? What do you mean?”
“I mean, one not involving the underground, something that is more legitimate.”
“If you’re asking this, you must have something in mind?”
Roland nodded at Lobelia as he considered her somewhat trustworthy. At least as long as he was associated with her elder sister Elodia, the half-elf would probably never do anything rash. She was an experienced tracker and had some connections. This was an excellent set of skills to be part of a noble's intelligence network.
Mary, who was Arthur’s maid, was probably the leader if such a group existed in Arthur’s ranks. If he could get Lobelia to switch jobs and work together with the cat maid, then he would have someone on the inside. Arthur was one thing but Mary seemed like the type of person that would push him over a ledge if it allowed her lord to achieve his mission.
His position came with a lot of responsibilities but also contained some boons. He was now in a similar position to Knight Commander Emmerson who had his own battalion of soldiers. It was even possible for him to lead thousands of men just like in the trial that he finished. Getting a few capable people on his side was paramount to his survival. It would be strange if some of the new soldiers that they recruit were planted spies. There was also a possibility of bribes already in the works or someone already being from the enemy camp.
“Yes, I know that you dislike nobles but I think you’ll be a good fit.”
“You want me to work for that noble? But I’m not a knight.”
“There is no need for you to be a knight, you’d be part of the hidden unit.”
“Oh, an assassin!”
“Well close but not quite…”
Lobelia seemed interested for a moment but her imagination was flying all over the place. She must have heard all sorts of rumors of nobles having assassination squads ready to slice the throats of their competition. While this wasn’t that much off he wasn’t planning to put her in that kind of position unless she actually chose that life.
“We should discuss the details later, maybe bring that idiot along too, I might be able to find him a spot somewhere.”
“Even him? What are you planning?”
“I’m not sure yet…”
Roland paused for a moment as they finally arrived at his home and were greeted by both Elodia and Bernir. The two looked well but worried, the information about his duel had probably reached this place if Lobelia was here so he wouldn’t need to explain that much to them.
“Heh, does this make me a squire now?”
“It actually might… Maybe I should make you a proper sword and armor…”
“Woah, slow down boss, I was only joking… I can’t even ride a horse!’
Bernir started sweating after Roland went along with the joke. In actuality, he would need to hire a squire so having Bernir do the job instead wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Forcing him to go along into noble homes and parties would have probably been amusing but it was probably better to let him stay at the workshop as his right-hand man. Now that he was part of Arthur’s entourage, some trips outside the city were a possibility. Just like Emmerson had ventured outside to take care of things, he could be ordered to do the same.
“I’m sure we could teach you eventually.”
“I feel stupid for worrying about you.”
While he was making fun of Bernir a finger made its way toward his side. Elodia was there shaking her head at Roland who was acting like a teenager. Soon all of them made their way into his home to discuss a few things. Now that he had become the Head Knight he needed to explain how things would change.
“Sorry about that but we need to talk about what is going to happen. As you already heard, I’ve become a Knight.”
After some small talk, he gathered everyone that was around for a little strategic meeting. While he had decided to go along with the Head Knight position this didn’t mean that everyone here had to go along with it. Even the job offer he handed to Lobelia was a shot in the dark as he wasn’t really sure if she would even consider it.
“This was a decision that I made, I’ll understand if you’d wish to avoid anything that involves nobles.”
“What are you trying to say?”
Elodia asked while seeming a bit mad at what Roland was insinuating.
“I’m saying that something like what happened today could happen later and I’d understand if you’d wish to leave.”
The room only contained Bernir, Lobelia, Elodia, and Agni. There weren’t really that many people that he knew or cherished that much. Bernir and Elodia were the two that were the closest to him and if they decided that it had become too dangerous for them he would be fine with it.
“What are you even saying.”
Not even a second passed as he received a kick to his shin from Elodia. Yet the only thing that had suffered damage was the same foot that kicked him as his body had become too sturdy.
“That’s a stupid question to ask, If I wanted to leave then I would have already gone.”
She wiggled around a bit after her big toe got the brunt of the attack. Bernir was the second one to speak up while laughing joyfully.
“I never liked nobles but if it’s you Boss, then I can make an exception! I also want to see the look on the faces of those union bastards… Hehe.”
He could see his assistant laughing and plotting something involving the other dwarves. Considering that he was now a Knight Commander, the dwarves would have to fear him. Previously they could have easily boycotted someone like him as he was seen as a commoner. Now they would be directly spitting on the Valerian household if they attempted the same.
“Well, you can count me in too… I might even give that offer a thought.”
Lobelia on the other hand shrugged as she didn’t feel strongly about the whole thing. Her involvement was quite small as her only concern was her sister that got hit by a Valerian Knight. Now that this knight was already dead there was not really much to do for her.
Roland nodded while discussing a few other things with the group. One of them involved bringing over a better-looking Valerian Crest and hanging it outside. With it there everyone would think twice before causing any more trouble.
‘I need everyone to get stronger, that area can still be used for power leveling…’
He already had a plan in his head to get a few of his new associates more power. The first one would be Mary who would probably become a good asset in the future. With some of the old tools that he needed to revisit it wouldn’t be hard to get her to level hundred fifty. However, before that started his next move would involve drawing up a schematic for his newest creation.
‘I might not have much time for this but I don’t have to make all the parts at once…’