"Yes, it is quite good. I have played a few times with Barnil, it's fine entertainment." William added beside them. It was now that both showed their tacit understanding as great partners, as if the skullduggery and cheating just now never existed. William even turned excitedly to Adrian, who had yet dared to speak. "So, you guys plan to sell this game table as a merchandise?"
"I know it's quite fun…" Joshua could only manage such a reply in the face of Barnil and William's passion, and while he was not being perfunctory, the two Legendary mages frowned slightly, not believing that to be the case. Still, as they thought about it carefully, they soon find that the violent warrior who shed neither tears nor blood and tortured demons in the Abyss for fun probably would not play such things, and so did not waste too much words.
So, Joshua turned towards the Sixth and Seventh Princes who stood beside the three Legendary champions, not daring to breathe out loud and furrowed his brow slightly. "Hmm. Not bad—from the strength of your aura, you haven't been lazy, Arlwa. As for Adrian… did you brought the table here?"
Though there was not much of a gap between their ages, Joshua and Israel's partnership that made both appear to be equals, along with the warrior's air as a Legendary champion, even Adrian, a prince could only earnestly answer like a domesticated cat. "Yes, my lord, I did bring it here… but I never expected it to be so popular…"
Then, noticing Joshua's frown as the warrior scrutinized him from head to toe, Adrian promptly felt that he was being seen through across his entire body, just as a harrowing chill spread from the depths of his heart.
On the other hand, Joshua was not thinking that much. He was simply curious right now.
—So that's the little fellow?
The one who had always been hidden amongst fairies and dwarves, planning the development of Fairy Cards and yet none learned their name despite every effort made to find out. The one who had been in charge along of the balance between different class cards, was actually such a little person?
Joshua could not help but moved. Israel's progenies were truly saturated with talent. Just like Dimore, the future iron-blooded Emperor who would inherit Israel's own ways of ruling and talents, and a future star like Arlwa with fine depth—Joshua never would have though that they would be a genius in the field of entertainment as well, their coverage was truly vast.
However, in the pre-existence, the Northern Empire's civil strife had already ended when the Fairy Card became popular. Adrian should have been culled by Dimore like the other princes and princesses… or could he have survived? That would not be unusual either, given that he was protected by the fairies—and if that was true, even Dimore would simply turn a blind eye since he ultimately was not the type who desired zero loose ends. If Adrian honestly wanted to retreat, he would not trouble the Sixth Prince.
At the thought, Joshua studied Adrian again, almost forcing the rather composed prince to take a few steps back and appeared close to tears.
Then, the warrior turned his gaze to 'Tempest'– the fairy giggling on Adrian's shoulder. She was watching delightedly as the two Legendary mages discussed card balance, a white speck of luster gathered in her hand.
"Alright! Card production completed!"
Suddenly, with a happy cheer, the fairy's hand unleashed a strong luster. With a blinding golden radiance, the shadow of two more cards appeared out of thin air, emanating an eye-catching presence.
Joshua's eyes were naturally caught too; he looked towards the text written over the card.
[Mind Lord William (Mage, Legendary)]
[10 Cost, 3 Attack 3 Health, Immune]
[Battlecry: Switch ownership of all cards apart from your own and the minions on the field. Each card will be labeled with 'Corrupted Mind'.]
[Deathrattle: destroy all cards with the 'Corrupted Mind' label.]
[—The hearts of men are like apples. Bright, adorable, delicious and fragile.]
The young wandering poet was holding a harp, walking past a bowing group of soldiers with his companion whose face was indistinct.
[Rune Master Barnil (Neutral, Legendary)]
[9 Cost, 5 Attack 5 Health]
[Summon a Rune Spawn each time a 'Rune' card is played. (Rune Spawn, 2 cost 23, Taunt)]
[Each Rune spell card played would have double effect.]
[—Runes are summation of human intelligence, the Eternal Truth given form in this world.]
A middle-aged spellcaster, his magic scepter in hand and standing over a cliff, faced the endless tides of beast that was charging towards him and his companion whose face was indistinct.
"Those two cards."
Joshua's brow arched slightly at the two cards. Like all card games, the Fairy Cards were categorized according to rarity, with the rarest being the two 'Golden Legendary' like those two cards. Each Legendary card depicted a historic Legendary champion. Just as the warrior was thinking—the perished Legendary champions notwithstanding—how would those living Legendary champions allow the fairies to shape cards in their image, it became clear that Adrian had visited them one by one and attained their image rights. After all, Legendary champions were not old, conservative stubborn individuals—they were always willing to try new things.
"Let me see! Let me see!"
Having seen that the cards were finished, both Barnil and William who had been still arguing whether the cheating move just now was still reasonable rushed forward, showing satisfied expressions the moment, they saw the cards that depicted them. "It's my style!"
"That's for sure!"'Tempest', one of the incarnations of the Four Elemental Fairy Queens, replied with a prideful face. "Before production, my cards take serious reference of real personalities and their past achievements, blended with their most storied legends and feats!
Tempest certainly was not lying. As a Legendary champion, Willam's most famous legend was made over dozens of years ago, when he just ascended to Legendary. With his stalwart spiritual prowess, he directly controlled an entire army dispatched by a West Mountain kingdom to encircle him, and hung their royal family on an apple tree by making the royals believe that they were the actual fruit instead. It was only until the autumn of that year when things returned to normal.
Things were much simpler with Barnil. With his own ability, he jointly vanquished a super-scale beast tides caused by cultist schemes in the West Mountains area. William was in charge of baiting the monsters into a circle of ambush, while he used grand-scale runic spells and diverse elemental summons and wiped out three hundred thousand colossal monsters in half a day. Commonly speaking, even if beasts of such numbers stood still and allow themselves to be live targets, they would not be wiped out even after a week. However, by creating an army out of seventy thousand elementals through runes, William completed the impossible task. Thanks to the blow from the two, the West Mountains cultists went into hiding for decades and only recovered part of their vigor recently.
Having heard someone being flattering about their past achievements, the two Legendary champions' expression became somewhat solemn, as if recalling the spectacle all those years ago. It was then that Tempest flew, swaying as she rose from Adrian's shoulder and floated towards Joshua.
"Human… Joshua van Radcliffe, new Legendary warrior, could I add your image to the Legendary series of the Fairy Cards?" She asked expectantly, before adding with a mumble, "I can't even come out here without a direct descendant of the Diamond Family. How many years would I get one chance to do so, don't you refuse…"
"Haha. I'll just agree to it then."
Not some old-fashioned person, Joshua naturally and directly agreed to the fairy's straightforward request. Ultimately, he also wanted to see how his Legendary card would look like.
Be that as it may, it was clear that card production was not a quick process. Having acquired Joshua's agreement, Tempest whopped and returned to Adrian's shoulder. Joshua soon learned most of the story about what happened just now from the Sixth Prince, who still bore a complicated expression.
Several days ago, the craftsman serving Adrian had completed the prototype of the table, but it could not be mass-produced due to the hefty cost. Under Tempest's encouragement, the Sixth Prince hence went to the North, to the dwarven settlement that was the closest within imperial borders, which was also the dwarven settlement with the most powerful and modern magical technology. He was prepared to discuss with the dwarves regarding how they could lower the production cost of the table so that it could be popularized.
But when Israel learned about Adrian's plan, the Emperor got him to visit his younger brother Arlwa in passing to check on his training progress. Therefore, the Sixth Prince arrived at Winter Fort Academy and ran into the two Legendary mages who were also there waiting for Joshua's return. The
—After all, this world lacked entertainment.
Joshua could not help shaking his head. There was truly a lack in way of entertainment on the Mycroft Continent, which was little wonder why they would be so interested in Fairy Cards. If even Joshua, a man from the Great Unity Era found the game good, what more were they who at most played with rolling dices for their whole lives?
But this was not the time for such things.
"Arlwa, go with Adrian to audit some of ours classes. I'll assess the results of your recent training."
Joshua got the two Royal brothers who were similar in appearance to leave for the moment. He came to Winter Fort Acaedemy for business—both contacting the dwarves and marketing Fairy Cards were matters of less priority.
Arlwa, who had been standing for some time in a corner and unable to speak much out of nervousness, promptly exhaled. Having three Legendary champions present and a master who caught him lazing around, the composure the Seventh Prince showed by not breaking out in cold sweat all over was already considerable. Now, having heard that Joshua was allowing him to leave, Arlwa quickly tugged at Adrian's hand and led him quickly away from the hall.
Joshua turned towards to Barnil and William after he watched the two leave. Instead of standing on ceremony, he asked curiously, "Why the sudden visit, honorable pair? Is there some issue with the Squirming Forest?"
Could there have been some problem that the two Legendary spellcasters could not settle that they came looking for the warrior? That was the cause for Joshua's doubts.
"It has something to do with the Squirming Forest, but…" Barnil said and frowned, looking up and behind Joshua.
Noticing his gaze, the warrior made the introductions. "Hill and Funa. Members of the Leviathan Knights, friends of mine. You could speak it's nothing too secretive."
"It's not that secretive…" William took over the conversation, making a precise assessment after a glance at the couple who did not know how to continue the conversation. "The lady appears to be a hybrid of Blue Sea Dragon and an Ocean Blade Dragon? Not bad—the two bloodlines appear to be pure, but the mixed ancestry does make it a little difficult to ascend, but you'll make your breakthrough a dozen years later. Your talent is fine, surpassing your predecessors would not be difficult."
"Thank you…" Funa was assuredly glad having heard that a Legendary champion say that her talent was fine, and knowing that a dozen years were fleeting for dragons. Even so, once she remembered that she had to ascend as soon as possible, she could not help becoming worried.
In the meantime, Joshua was talking to Barnil. "By extracting the Ancient Dragon scent from the Squirming Forest, William and I had mostly replicated part of the Ancient Dragon's bloodline."
As they ventured into serious matters, both Barnil and William became serious, no longer whimsical like before. "But when we tried to replicate part of the Ancient Dragon's body through that blood," he said, frowning and solemn, "the lab material disintegrated by itself as the bloodline crumpled instantly."
"You're saying… that the Ancient Dragon still lives?" Joshua replied in slight surprise, having promptly understood the meaning in Barnil's words. "And it's still in a conscious state that automatically destroys any being that intends to glimpse into tis power?"
"Yes, indeed." Barnil's expression now showed a hint of frenzy, and spoke with a low voice as he suppressed his excitement before the warrior. "Do you know what that means? Joshua, it's definitely alive! It isn't slumbering! It is awake, and right beside us!"
Though he was no Ancient Dragon Chaser, Joshua could also feel Barnil and William's excitement—they have verified existence of a target they had pursued for years without knowing if it existed. It was conscious, and was wandering across worlds, perhaps even the Mycroft Continent. That was also why it could stop the two Legendary mages from attempting to clone Ancient Dragon blood through its blood link.
"You're the Legend on the aspect of lifeforce, the Master of Steel Strength," William said, finally revealing their true objective for coming to the North. His expression was solemn as well as he stated their request. "Joshua, though sudden, I hope that you could help us. Just relax…"
"Alright, I'll help."
Before the two could finished, Joshua had answered at once. "You want me to help by using Steel Strength, to reverse-trace information and glimpse the world where the Ancient Dragon is, right? No problem."
William had a pained look. He could master the mind, spy upon hearts, but could not glimpse into Joshua who was a Legendary champion as well. Additionally, having been interjected to such an extent, he could continue either, and could only compose himself to speak again after a few moments. "Don't be so hasty, Count Radcliffe. This isn't as simple as you think. The power of Ancient Dragons is so profound that not even Legendary champions should treat it light."
"Isn't that even better?" Joshua nodded in satisfaction. "I won't do anything that isn't challenging."
"No, I think it is better if you consider. It is a difficult matter, and to compensate for your losses, we are willing to prepare a reward… What do you think about this colossal runic war puppet blueprint?"
Barnil tried to dissuade the warrior with a pained expression and self-jested, shaking his head. "Damn it, why am I cautioning you? And voluntarily offering a reward? William, is it you who controlled Joshua?"
"Me, controlling him? I could control a rock but not him. Take a look at that spiritual defensive boundary, I wouldn't even dare to touch it…"
Watching as Barnil and William argued over something trivial once more, Joshua shrugged. Unlike the two Legends who always thought too much, he certainly does not think too much—just like how he had agreed to help Hill and Funa, Joshua would help Barnil and William for the same reason.
It had nothing to do with rank or ability.
He simply did not enjoy denying the dreams of others.
After every student and instructor left the hall, Barnil ignored Joshua's deliberately mustered solemn expression and approached the warrior with a full grin. "Joshua, you don't have to be too serious—this thing is quite fun."