Since Lilica hadn't said anything after they returned to the Origin Expanse, Michael's gaze flicked at her.
However, Lilica seemed a little lost in thoughts. She was staring straight-ahead with a blank look.
"Hellooo, Lilica?" Michael asked, waving his hand in front of her. Only then did she regain her senses.
"W-what happened?" She asked, which resulted in chuckles from behind her. The other Forest Elves looked at her smugly. At last, Opars decided to give Lilica a helping hand, "Michael asked if we're now allowed to sign a Soul Pact, and if we're allowed to stay in his territory permanently."
"Ahhh," Lilica murmured. She looked back to Michael and smiled lightly, "Sorry, I am a bit distracted. Talking with my family was a little bit…tense. Either way, we've been given permission to sign Soul Pacts, and to stay with you in the Origin Expanse. As long as we won't have to fight Forest Elven Lords in the Origin Expanse, that is. And there are some other clauses we need such as the permission to leave if something happens back at home."
"We also need to clarify the price for Soultraits and so on. That can also be done later because we don't want to obtain more Soultraits right off the bat. For now, we want to train with our current Soultraits, study them in-depth and incorporate them into our combat styles. Nonetheless, the price of Soultraits will be important at a later time," Lilica clarified.
Michael couldn't agree more, "Pricing Soultraits is something I have issues with as well. For now, I would like to change our Links of Loyalty to ordinary Links of Loyalty without any alterations. Then I would like to use Soul Pacts to act as business contracts. That means the Soul Pacts are like employee contracts. You will be given a certain number of SoulStar Fragments every month. Joining territory battles will increase your share of SoulStar Fragments according to your contribution after the territory battle ends. I am willing to give your team credits such as Soultraits and SoulStar Fragments. But, of course, you would have to pay back the credits later."
"As for pricing Soultrait Symbols, I am not sure how to price them. When you leave the Origin Expanse the next time, can you ask your parents what they demand for an Intermediate Summoning Core, and a Neutral Basic Summoning Core. I want to compare the Forest Elven Tribe's pricing with my kind's market, and that of the Tritan Alliance," Michael explained calmly.
Every race had their own unique market. Forest Elves lived in forests, and they spawned in flourishing environments in the Origin Expanse as well. Meanwhile, mankind was the opposite. Their spawn points in the Origin Expanse were mostly the Barren Lands, the Frozen Tundra and the Sacred Desert.
Therefore their market was different. Humans paid a lot for agriculture-type blueprints while Forest Elves had those blueprints stored away, numbered in millions.
"I can do that. But I doubt that we can provide you with the resources required for the Intermediate and Advanced levels of the Sacred Knight Temple. My parents told me that selling those materials would use up the stock of certain highly valuable resources, resources that our people require quite often as well. Maybe, I can negotiate a little bit and obtain some resources, but that will only be a portion and not everything," Opars said.
Michael fell deep in thought. He had been hoping to splurge a little bit with the 43 Soultrait Symbols in his possession to procure the resources needed to complete the construction of the Sacred Knight Temple soon. Once completed, the Sacred Knight Temple would become the holy training ground in Michael's territory. He was not sure how long it would take for the first Holy Knights and Sacred Knights to appear, but given that it required barely two weeks for 15 Blessed Squires to appear even without the Sacred Knight Temple's support, Michael was certain that he wouldn't have to worry about his heavy armored combat unit.
Now that the construction of the Sacred Knight Temple had begun, all Michael had to do was to make enough space for the foundation before waiting patiently until his subjects completed the task ahead. Michael deployed a total of 3,000 subjects to work on the Basic level of the Sacred Knight Temple. He hoped that it was enough to complete the Basic level within a month.
If his calculations were accurate, the construction of the basic level would be completed just before the Battle Exchange ended. Therefore, Michael would have two more months – four if the time dilation of the Origin Expanse was applied – before the Interdimensional Flag War would begin.
Until the Interdimensional Flag War started, Michael wanted to grow a lot stronger. He required more subjects, stronger subjects, and firmer Links of Loyalty to ensure that his Soultraits were stronger than the Tekur. After all, the Tekur were said to be a tough nut to crack.
Michael cleared his mind to stop the thoughts from overwhelming him. He discussed the Soul Pact with the Forest Elves for a while before they changed the conditions of the Links of Loyalty once again. The altered Link of Loyalty was removed, and an ordinary Link of Loyalty was created instead. Thereafter, Michael felt much closer to the Forest Elves. Whereas altered Links of Loyalty were good for ensuring fairness between the two parties, an ordinary Link of Loyalty was much stronger. It provided far more Soul Power to the Lord – the dominant force –, and it felt different.
The firmness of the ordinary Link of Loyalty was much more durable than the altered Link of Loyalty. That might be the usual for ordinary Links of Loyalty, but it also showed that the Forest Elves trusted Michael a lot.
"Since the Sacred Knight Temple is under construction and we've finished replacing the Links of Loyalty, how about I show you something before we write down everything for the Soul Pacts?" Michael asked, smiling slyly.
The Forest Elves didn't know what to expect, but they agreed nonetheless. Michael looked over to Opars, who recalled something. He retrieved a blueprint in addition to a handful of tendons originating from a Superior Tier-4 Monster.
"I nearly forgot about those. Actually, I don't really understand what you want to do with them. We can produce artificial 2-Star Tier-4 Artifacts with those…so my parents were reluctant to give them to me…" Opars mumbled, shaking his head to dispel his weird thoughts.
He handed the tendons and the blueprint to Michael, who gestured at them to follow him.
"I might not be able to produce a Tier-4 Artifact, but I am pretty sure that this will be at least as useful, if not better," Michael mumbled.
It didn't take long before they reached the basement of the wooden manor where the Relic of Draka was located. A bunch of recently forged Spirit Armaments were waiting to be collected. Michael put them aside, and replaced the installed blueprint with the one he obtained from Opars just now before he put the tendons and a large batch of wooden planks inside the metal cart located right next to the Relic of Draka.
The wooden planks were something Michael had extracted from the bookshelf that had once blocked the path leading to the cellar where the Elemental Empress, Zeroa, had been confined. The bookshelf had been extremely hard to extract. It was extremely tough and extracting it to obtain a wide variety of wooden planks hadn't been that easy either.
Ignoring the effort Michael put into the extraction, all he could hope for was that the Relic of Draka could also work with organic materials. Until now, Michael used ores and metals to have the Relic of Draka forge stuff. But now he hoped that the Relic could produce a handful of bows for the Forest Elves. Spirit Bows would enhance the Forest Elves externally without being counted as an Artifact. That would give them an upper hand over others, especially if the Spirit Bow enhanced them as much as an Epic Tier-2 Artifact, or maybe even a natural Tier-3 Artifact.
Michael waited patiently to see if the Relic of Draka was about to start moving, but nothing happened. He waited ten minutes only to realize that he might have been a little bit too excited, thinking that the Relic of Draka could create Spirit Bows as well.
"It was worth a try, I guess. Sorry to disappoint y'all, but how about we write down all notes about the Soul Pacts now?" Michael could only say, leaving the Forest Elves a little stupefied. They were just about to turn around when Lilica pointed at the Relic of Draka.
"It began to move!"
His plan worked! Michael had no idea how the Magical Smithy would turn the wooden planks and tendons into a bow without crushing them into little pieces, but the Relic of Draka accepted it as a raw material and began to work. That was some good news!
"Now the Soul Pact!" Michael declared in excitement. He cleared his throat and led everyone outside. On the first floor of the wooden manor, they gathered around a table. Interestingly enough, Michael and the Forest Elves found Tiara who seemed to have been waiting eagerly for their arrival.
Tiara smiled, and the others returned a vibrant smile. They greeted Tiara like she was their sister whom they hadn't seen for years.
Michael was not sure if they were a little bit over the top, but it was fine. In fact, it was more than just fine. It was nice to see his people grow attached to each other.
"Let's start with the real deal now!"