The Runesmith


Chapter 277: New Contract.

Report Chapter

Chapter 277: New Contract.

The room was silent, and all eyes were on the man sitting in front of a desk. Arthur Valerian and his maid Mary were looking with a lot of interest towards Roland. He on the other hand wasn’t sure how much truth he should disclose. The miners already revealed parts of the fact. While he didn’t see them interacting with Arthur there was enough time for both parties to speak with each other.

‘They probably had a meeting with him after returning to the city. Wouldn’t be strange if that Wedamir character talked about everything…’

Wedamir, the dwarf he saved from dying, had seen both his mine and the secret tunnel leading to the upper levels. Then there was of course Jasmine the archer lady that was with that party. She didn’t see the other tunnel but had been in the one leading out of the mine. If he tried to deny the part about the mines and secret pa.s.sageways Arthur would obviously know that it was a lie.

‘There isn’t really a reason to catch me in a lie though, they should have already had all the information they need. I don’t think they even suspect any foul play here, they must think the Lich was just some kind of random sp.a.w.n or perhaps a triggered trap…’

Roland didn’t believe that anyone actually knew about the existence of the other dungeon. It was already rare enough for two dungeons to connect with each other. That a monster made it out of it was not something that had been ever doc.u.mented. At least not in the literature that he had gone through, perhaps some findings were kept away from the lesser n.o.bles like his house and the public. This was not likely as it would endanger adventurers which the guild would probably not allow.

‘But what is his end game here, he is either being very naive or desperate…’

Arthur was being friendly for no reason and this was bothering him. Normally he should have been surrounded by ten guards with spears pointing at his throat. The city lord was putting himself in potential danger by allowing Roland in this room. Even if Mary was watching him from outside it wouldn’t take much to set off a spell to explode this entire room. They had to know what he was capable of by now, which made this scene strange.

‘Does he really need me to trust him this much?’

A desperate n.o.ble that was trying to find allies is how Arthur seemed to him. Could this little n.o.ble here be that desperate to need a sketchy runesmith with a shaky background? Could he instead just be too friendly for his own good and seeking to befriend someone that could come from a similar background?

‘The first option is more likely, the question is… what will he do after achieving his goal?’

This was the big question, if Roland fully joined Arthur’s camp then he would inexplicably be putting himself in line of danger. The Valerian household, just like many other n.o.ble houses, took the war for succession very seriously. If he truly affiliated himself with Arthur then perhaps down the line he would need to confront his elder brothers and their retainers.

‘Think my dear father would lay an egg if he found out that I became a retainer of the opposite n.o.ble faction.’

Wentworth Arden was a diehard fanboy of the royal family. While that faction was strong it wasn’t the only one around, many powerful old aristocrats formed a separate side to balance things out. They had their place, they needed to watch for an incompetent king and remove them to safeguard the kingdom's safety. Both sides kept themselves on their toes which contributed to strengthening the entire kingdom. This however didn’t mean that each side didn’t want to rule without any limit.

‘I guess some of the truth will come out eventually if the dwarves start mining, sooner or later they will discover the entrance to the other dungeon…’

Roland knew this already, even if he withheld information now and denied everything it would eventually come to bite him. This wouldn’t be a problem if he decided to ditch just like he did before. Perhaps he could visit one of the neighboring countries to seek shelter there. For someone that was on the cusp of breaking into tier 3 it would be that hard.

There was a small problem however, the roots that he cultivated in this city were already deep. He did not really want to restart everything from scratch each time a problem arose. Perhaps in the past there was no other option but now it was different. His level and knowledge had grown enough to rise to this occasion. Even when going against the cultists he was not powerless anymore. There was now a chance for him to stem the tide and get through this without losing much in exchange.

“Do you have some paper or parchment that can be infused with mana?”

“I’m not sure but that can be arranged? Do you mean to make a…”

Finally, Roland spoke up after remaining silent for several seconds. While he wanted to believe in Arthur and his gang he needed some rea.s.surance. If things went badly there needed to be something that he could get him on. To test the young n.o.ble's sincerity or desperation he needed a binding contract.

“Yes, a magical contract, if we come to an agreement I don’t mind telling you everything.”

“I see… Runesmiths do have the skills for that…”

It was well known that runesmith had to take the mana scribe cla.s.s to progress. This made things a lot easier as no other person besides who was in this room would need to know about what was in the contract. Two identical copies just needed to be made and given to each side.

Roland wasn’t sure how these contracts actually worked but they bound people on some kind of higher level. If someone tried getting around the contract in underhanded ways it would trigger the curse effect. Even if the paper it was written down was destroyed the contract would persist. The consensus was that the contracts were overseen by a divine being of some sort. Thus the only way of going around them was through divine intervention which wasn’t that easy to come by.

“Yes, that won’t be a problem but do you wish to go through with it, even when the punishment will be severe?”

“Severe? What do you wish to put us under if we break the agreement?”

All contracts came equipped with some kind of magical deterrent which people either referred to as curses or debuffs. This status could be something mild as a tiny drop in stats or something severe like persisting blindness. While Roland didn’t want to go too extreme he needed to test Arthur’s sincerity. If he agreed to a curse effect that prevented him from rising above his brothers, then he could probably be trusted.

‘There is one that I can do at my current level…”

“Deterioration of mind and flesh.”

“My Lord, you must not agree to this sort of contract, how could you even propose something like this?”

“Calm down Mary, give me some time to think.”

The detrimental effect that he was proposing was a proper high-level curse. Normally it could be only used by dark magicians or people like the abyssal cultists. For some reason, a lot of prerequisites could be ignored by signing a contract. It was like a loophole that was made to help people take these contracts seriously.

Just like the name implied, the deterioration of mind and flesh did as it was described. It would turn a person into something that looked more like a ghoul than human. Their hair would fall out and their body would be given a pungent smell. This wasn’t all, with time the person would suffer a ma.s.sive drop in intelligence and willpower.

To someone like Arthur that needed his wits and charms to get further in his life, it would be a disaster. He would no longer be able to go to any n.o.ble parties or talk to influential merchants. His charisma would drop below ten and no one would be able to stand his presence. For someone that needed to conserve their public image, it would truly be terrible.

“That’s quite the dastardly contract curse you thought up Wayland… but doesn’t that particular one have tremendous requirements to scribe down and you are saying that you are capable of producing such a contract?”

Arthur seemed rather intrigued than angered by the proposal while Mary was giving him the death glare. Deterioration of mind and flesh put a strain on the scribe creating a contract that could only be alleviated by pure stats. It was clear that whoever was able to put a powerful hex like that onto paper had to have superior numbers on their side. It was almost a confession of him p.r.o.nouncing that he had been hiding his true level from the start.

*** You are reading on ***

“Yes, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Great, well then, let us discuss the contract before we prepare it. I’m sure you’d like me to withhold the information that you disclose to me Mr. Wayland but I won’t just let you walk all over me.”

Arthur started grinning while he pulled out a well-used quill. It looked like it had gone through a lot of paperwork but was still holding together. The quill being used didn’t matter as much as the magical ink that needed to be infused with mana on the paper.

“I don’t intend to write an unfavorable contract, only when both parties are satisfied will it be a proper deal…”

Both of the men looked at each other with a glint in their eyes. Mary that was standing on the side wasn’t sure how to feel about it as the two started putting down words to paper. It seemed like both were versed in bureaucracy and knew all the little pitfalls a contract could potentially bring.

“Do you think I was born yesterday Mr. Wayland, if you want to put that clause in there then you’ll have to agree to this small addition …”

“I might have underestimated you Lord Arthur but don’t think this is over yet…”

“... I’ll bring over some more tea and food…”

Soon Mary walked out of the room to go fetch some food. It was clear that this write-up would take quite a bit. For the time being she needed to monitor the room and also what was happening outside. If for some reason the skeletal monsters attacked then Arthur needed to be woken up from the trance of paperwork.

Ever since getting to this city he had been going through this type of process so she was convinced that his opponent wouldn’t be able to get one over him. The contract might have contained a troublesome curse but if the paper was worded correctly there would be a slim chance of her master actually getting it.

Though his opponent Wayland could not be underestimated. Supposedly he was also a n.o.ble and probably had a scholarly upbringing if he could keep up with Arthur. The exchange of paragraphs, sections, subsections, and conditions was making Mary’s brain let out steam. She had almost no idea what the two were talking about. Her job description was an and bodyguard, complicated paperwork just produced migraines.

“That took a bit, but I think we have it, don’t you agree?”

“Yes, that should do it.”

Roland nodded while looking at both papers before them. The contract wasn’t the longest but a magical scribe could fit a lot more words onto a piece of paper thanks to compressed characters. It was also one of the tricks of the trade, if the fine print was too small to read then the other party could be easily duped. This trick was seen quickly through by Arthur who had some magical to read through the tiny text.

In the end, he received a rock-solid agreement between the two parties. He could now safely disclose the information concerning the whole mine area and also the secret dungeon without needing to worry of going to jail. In actuality he expected Arthur to be delighted at the information that he would be given.

First of all, while the dwarves had an agreement with the Valerian household it didn’t mean that Arthur actually needed to give them the mine. Instead, he could make an agreement with the adventurer guild or even send his own people there. With the discovery of the tier 3 dungeon, it would be a s.p.a.ce that needed to belong to him.

“Very well then, Mr. Wayland, how about you tell me what really happened in the dungeon.”

“Okay, this is might take a while but this is what took place..." 

While they spent multiple hours on the contract this wasn’t over. It was time to spill the beans about some of his secrets but some of them didn’t need to be voiced as he wasn’t quite contractually obligated to disclose everything yet. Perhaps if the trust with his new partner in crime grew then his true ident.i.ty could be revealed.

*** You are reading on ***

Popular Novel