Sword God in a World of Magic
Chapter 268: Duke Whirlwind's Path

Shang hesitated for a moment.

"What is your goal, and what approach are you using to get closer to it?" Shang asked.

Duke Whirlwind's eyes shone for a short moment.

This was a very personal question, and Shang had directly asked Duke Whirlwind about his personal philosophy when it came to becoming more powerful.

One could say that Shang had asked for the secret of becoming as powerful as a Duke. After all, Duke Whirlwind's approach had obviously worked out very well, and knowing how he operated could very likely pay off in a big way.

"Those are two questions," Duke Whirlwind commented.

"There is only one question mark at the end," Shang answered.

Duke Whirlwind remained silent for a bit.

"Alright, I'll answer your question, and the reason why I am answering this question has to do with the answer," Duke Whirlwind said.

Shang nodded and listened to the Duke.

"As for the first question, my goal is to become an Archmage and to have my own Kingdom," Duke Whirlwind said.

Shang wasn't surprised by the answer.

"And as to how I'm trying to achieve it, investment and efficiency," Duke Whirlwind said.

"I can spend 24 hours per day working on my Magic, but that would only be the effort of one High Mage at a time. I can continually grow more powerful by working on my Magic, but without resources, I might not have enough time to become an Archmage."

"However, if I have access to rare and powerful materials, advanced studies, esoteric concepts, and plenty of teachers, I can grow many times faster than if I were on my own."

"But all of these things require wealth. Without wealth, I can't access these things. That's where the investment aspect comes into play."

"I don't have many hours in the day to myself, but the few hours I have are more profitable than several days of working on myself without pause."

"And how did I gain the wealth necessary to become this efficient?"

"Other people."

"I burn through millions of gold each day just to accelerate my growth. If I were on my own, I would never be able to pay such a large sum of money."

"So, I invest, not into corporations or resources, but into people."

"Every person has something they are good at, but many of those people never get the chance to realize their potential."

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"Poverty, suppression, enemies, there are many things that will kill talent in its infancy."

"I invest a big chunk of my money into the futures of people weaker than me so that they one day return a profit."

"Helping a young man that landed in prison due to the corrupt influence of a powerful family isn't costing me much, but I am essentially saving that person's life. At the current moment, the resources I spent on that person are far greater than they are worth."

"However, if that person gets the opportunity, time, and resources to fully realize their potential, their help and loyalty will pay far more than I have invested in them."

"These people are incorruptible, loyal, and powerful. They handle all my lands with dedication, and they are happy to repay me."

"I am not forcing anyone, and I am not burning them into nothingness like coal. Taking advantage of a True Mage might bring immense profits in the short-term, but these profits will eventually end."

"But if everyone is happy working for me, they will be far more valuable."

Duke Whirlwind looked at Shang.

"A more altruistic person can say that I am a kind person that gives to the weak and gives them the opportunity to become stronger than they could have ever imagined."

"A more cynical person can say that I am exploiting poor and naïve people, giving them something negligible for me but valuable for them."

"In the end, it's up to your interpretation."

"Am I a saint that helps the defenseless, or am I a greedy businessman that exploits the poor?"

"No matter the answer, two things will remain the same."

"First, I never force anyone, and everyone working for me is doing so of their own free will."

"And second, they are generating the resources I need to work towards my goal."

"Does that answer your question?"

Shang nodded as several thoughts went through his head.

Duke Whirlwind had explained his method to becoming more powerful very objectively without trying to sound like some kind elder.

Shang had always been a bit skeptical regarding Duke Whirlwind's conduct.

Shang had met plenty of nice managers in his past life. They were friendly, helped him, and encouraged him.

But when there was profit to be made, Shang had been fired.

And even worse, the managers continued smiling and asked Shang not to take it personally.

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Shang had feared that Duke Whirlwind might be one of these people.

However, the logical and objective explanation was rock-solid.

There was a concept on Earth that described the cause and effect of what Duke Whirlwind was doing.

Karma.

On Earth, many people thought of Karma as a religious thing. They thought that Karma was some rule the Gods had made to punish the wicked and reward the pure.

However, Karma was simply the term to describe how cooperation worked.

If person A was in a tight spot and needed a place to live, person B might directly be impacted in the future based on their decision.

Assuming person B helped person A, what would most likely happen if person B got into trouble in the future?

Person A would be more inclined to help person B.

Why?

Because person B had helped person A in the past, and they would want to repay them.

However, if person B threw person A away because they thought that associating with person A was of no more value to them since person A had become homeless now, things would be different.

If person B got into trouble later, person A would very likely not help them.

Why should they? Person B hadn't helped them.

Of course, this was all about likelihood, and it wasn't a certainty.

There were scumbags that had no problems with throwing someone away that had helped them before, and there were also saints that were willing to help people that had scorned them in the past.

But, in general, this was how things worked.

This was Karma.

It was just cause and effect when it came to interacting with other humans.

Duke Whirlwind was helping weaker people so that they would one day help him in return.

Funnily enough, one could refer to this mindset with two contradicting adjectives.

Naïve and manipulative.

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And, ironically, the adjective one would choose depended on which side the describer was on.

A naïve person would call it manipulative. After all, Duke Whirlwind was taking advantage of naïve people.

A manipulative person would call it naïve. After all, Duke Whirlwind was making himself a target for exploitation. A manipulator could just take the help from Duke Whirlwind and never repay.

One could also judge it based on if one valued intent or actions more.

If one valued intent more, one would think Duke Whirlwind was exploitative. He was taking advantage of weaker people.

If one valued actions more, one would think that Duke Whirlwind was a kind person. He was giving weaker people the opportunity to rise.

What did Shang think of this?

'I can see that this is a very effective path to becoming more powerful,' Shang thought.

'To become a Duke, and maybe even a King, this path might actually be the best.'

'However, is it truly the best path for supreme power?'

'What if I reach a level of power where others can't help me anymore?'

Shang wasn't concerned if this was right or wrong.

Duke Whirlwind had found a great and effective way to further his own power, and Shang could see it as such.

Shang wondered what the answer of the God would be.

"Shang," Duke Whirlwind said after a while.

"Yes?" Shang asked.

"I know that answer is worth a lot, but I still feel like I owe you a bit more. How about I also give you some better armor when we return from our little journey?" Duke Whirlwind asked.

Earlier, Shang would have doubted Duke Whirlwind's intentions.

But since Duke Whirlwind had been so honest, Shang now knew Duke Whirlwind's intentions.

Duke Whirlwind wanted to invest more in Shang.

He believed that Shang would prove to be worth even more in the future, and to do that, Shang had to be alive.

Giving him a great set of armor would heighten the chances of Shang's survival, and if the armor actually proved lifesaving, Shang's opinion of Duke Whirlwind would only increase.

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What was Shang's answer?

"Thank you."

He accepted.

Sword God in a World of Magic Chapter 268: Duke Whirlwind's Path
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