City of Sin

Book 1, Chapter 22A


A rare scene was playing out in Sharon’s private library. The legendary mage was sat at the table, flipping through a thick tome with hundreds of similar books floating in the air around her. Some of these books were upright, displaying text or images, waiting to be used. They flew to the legendary mage whenever she needed them, automatically flipping to the right page and adjusting angle so they could be read in the most convenient way possible. She was frowning slightly as she read through everything, altering some of the content on occasion. She was illuminated by a ray of light shooting out from a crystal arch that created a region of bright light in the semicircular room, sitting at the centre of this spotlight.

This may be called a private library, but there were seventy rows of bookshelves in front of and behind her. The shelves were all seven metres tall, filled with all sorts of magic tomes. This place didn’t lose out to even the National Public Library in scale.

The partially covered door to the library was opened slightly, and a dwarven grand mage with a white beard cautiously walked in, watching as the legendary mage was hard at work. The grand mage’s footsteps immediately grew lighter, and as gently as possible he called out, “Your Excellency…”

“I’m busy!” Sharon answered in annoyance, not even shooting him a glance.

The dwarven grand mage was startled, but then recalled the importance of what he was to report. After weighing his options for a while, he decided to whisper, “Your Excellency, Duke Solam’s son has arrived and is awaiting an audience…”

*Thud!* Sharon slammed the table, causing the dwarf to swallow the rest of his words. She finally looked up, but her expression was icy as she spoke an undeniable command, “I said I’m busy. Have him wait!”

“But…” The dwarve grand mage finally shut up, only speaking softly once he’d closed the door to the library, “Let’s have him wait, then, Let Solam’s son wait. After all he’s only been waiting three hours, even though you said it would be within two…”

The door to the library suddenly opened, and a magic book almost half as tall as the dwarf flew out to strike his back loudly. He immediately felt his innards jolt so greatly he almost fainted, and only then did the grand mage realise that Sharon truly had something important to attend to. For its sake, she wouldn’t even mind offending Duke Solam!

It took an entire hour longer for the dwarf to be summoned again. He darted to the library at breakneck speed, and a slightly fatigued Sharon tossed him a piece of paper filled with scribbles on it. She instructed him on what to do, then headed towards the meeting room.

The annoyance at the interruption remained on the mage’s beautiful little face. The grand mage maintained a respectful pose with remorse written on his face as he watched her leave, only beginning to read the contents of the paper afterwards. He was rather curious about what exactly was so important.

On this paper was a diet, consisting a total of a hundred and twenty raw ingredients and twenty-eight recipes. The precision of the portions were exact to a tenth of a gram, and the time for eating was specified to within minutes. This recipe sheet was for Richard, but this only seemed to be for one month.

Seeing this piece of paper, the dwarven mage reevaluated that future elementary runemaster into a possible saint runemaster. No ordinary runemaster qualified to have Sharon herself spend four hours of her precious time to customise a month of his diet.

A youth was waiting with his hands behind his back in a majestic meeting room, admiring the beauty of the large Floe Bay outside the french window. Scattered sheets of ice could still be seen floating on the surface of the sea amongst the fleets of ships entering the port with their snow-white sails. There were likely large icebergs floating underneath a lot of these sheets. Although the Deepblue never froze up, the ships still had to be careful of icebergs for half the year.

One could see the Everwinter Mountains from this position, extending far off into the distance in the right. Precipitous sea cliffs and majestic mountains lined the north of the bay, while the southern geography was much smoother with dense coniferous forests. The deepwater port on the southern coast had more than half of its twelve docks filled despite it being winter, including a magic-operated open sea ship that was over thirty metres tall and a hundred long. The port was filled with people, and loading vehicles of various colours were lined up at the docks, making it less apparent that this was an off season. A busy port led to prosperity and opportunity.

There were some flags fluttering in the distance, the sheer number of masts revealing that the incoming ship was designed for the open sea. The youth’s gaze was fixed on the port, the slight smile that had been on his face all this while vanishing in his contemplation. Only Minnie remained beside him in the meeting room, and she’d made herself comfortable on a sofa as she flipped through a tome.

She seemed somewhat distracted, however. A four hour wait had already exceeded her limits, but she had to endure it because of the close relations between their families. She was the only one who could accompany this youth; after all, his subordinates weren’t allowed into this place.

“What splendid scenery!” the young man suddenly praised.

“Randolph said that a lot too,” Minnie answered coldly.

The young man turned back, a nice smile on his face, “My name is not Randolph, I’m Steven. The biggest difference between us is that the only thing he knows to do is speak, while I won’t comment any further.”

“You sound like you’re all that,” Minnie languidly raised her arms and stretched out. Her pubescent body revealed itself, flirting with him inadvertently. Her eyes still didn’t leave the book, but Steven’s words had caught her attention. “Duke Solam’s son, Steven. Although a dragon warlock like you is rare, you’re not much in front of a runemaster.”

There was little change to the arch of the young man’s smile. “That’s why I want to be taught personally by Her Excellency. Saint Klaus can still make me a runemaster, but I’ll have to give up my bloodline in exchange for it. I believe Master Sharon has the ability to solve this problem.”

Minnie nodded slightly. Truth be told, warlocks were rare spellcasters amongst the mages who depended on the abilities of their bloodlines to cast spells. There was a limited number of spells they could learn, but all of them far exceeded mages of the same level. Dragon warlocks were the rarest and most prestigious of all warlocks, having the potential to become grand mages in the future.

It was a difficult choice to make, to give up a dragon bloodline to become a runemaster. That he was here showed how special Steven really was; it was public knowledge that the Sacred Tree Empire had marked him as the person with the greatest potential in the next generation of the Solam Family.

“Master may or may not agree to take you in. You’re too old.” Minnie spoke the truth, as she usually did.

“Her Excellency will definitely take me in, I’m paying for my own studies.” Steven also used the truth to elegantly shut Minnie up.

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