Book 7, Chapter 67

Considerations

Richard first took a look at Julian and then turned back to Duke Myron and laughed derisively, “This is your backer?”

The Duke’s eye twitched, but he quickly nodded, “And what of it?”

Myron had no idea what had happened in Faelor, but knowing how dangerous Richard was he had summoned some of his elite troops as a backup in case reasoning failed. At the very least, he hoped to be able to obtain a public trial which would give him a chance to save his nephew. Julian was supposed to have come in later as a last resort, but the man wasn’t one to listen to anyone.

Richard smiled at the faux pas. The Myron Family had vouched for Link personally to get him into Rosie’s workshop; although this wasn’t a formal contract of alliance, it certainly would be considered a beginning towards that. To find them working together with a publicly known enemy of his all this while was annoying, even if Link had revealed it before. “Nothing,” he shrugged it off.

It was at this moment that a fully armoured knight appeared behind him, standing there quietly. This knight was only level 16, quite a bit away from sainthood, but even amongst the rune knights who had many members of a higher level than her, she stood right next to Richard. The Duke was about to mock Richard at the sight, but he suddenly sensed something strange and turned to find Julian’s smile gone. His eyes seemed to be frozen on the knight.

This prompted Myron to look at her once more, giving more weight to the full suit of legendary armour. The blank mask covering her face implied that she had an identity to hide, but she was still level 16 through and through. Was she hiding her strength? This line of thought was quickly dismissed; it would normally take a legend to hide their might from him so thoroughly.

While the Duke continued with his conjectures, Richard turned to Julian, “What is it, Mister Julian? Is a mere level 16 paladin making you hesitate? This doesn’t quite seem to be your style.”

“Who is she?” However, Julian paid no attention to the taunts and continued to stare at Nasia. Their last encounter had left a deep impression on him, from the powerful buff to Richard to the death of his three clones that tipped the scales of battle. Each of those level 16 clones had the same amount of experience and technique as he did, but they had still lost three to one. It hadn’t even taken much time; she had just slipped out of sight and destroyed them before returning.

“A follower of mine, her name’s Nasia,” Richard mentioned calmly.

“Nasia…” Julian repeated the name, his eyes glowing a deep purple that was almost black. This was an ability similar to Richard’s Insight, but despite his best attempts the paladin seemed to be hidden within a fog that blocked all vision. The woman’s aura was detestable, almost giving him a feeling of fundamental rejection. It was similar to timeforce, but not quite the same either.

Richard calmly allowed him to do as he wished. His own attempts with Insight had been blocked by Nasia’s armour before, and he hadn’t come across an ability that surpassed it even amongst legendary mages. He believed it was impossible for Julian to glean anything.

Julian remained expressionless, but his eyes kept flickering with hesitation. With Nasia around, either Richard or Tiramisu would be able to fight him off while the 200 rune knights would be free to gang up on and eliminate him. He also didn’t know how many times that buff could be used; he could still hold his own somewhat against just one, but fighting both the ogre and Richard in a buffed state would be the death of him.

The man grunted, flipping off the Church of the Eternal Dragon that was within sight in frustration. If not for his power being suppressed so much in Faust, he wouldn’t need to be so cautious around this arrogant kid. Even if he wasn’t sure of victory, he would at least know that he could escape if things went south.

This was a gamble where being wrong meant death and being right wouldn’t even guarantee survival. There was no way anyone would actually take it. Still, Richard kept up his guard in case Julian went berserk. Those who succumbed to the laws of chaos tended to lose their rationality, and the inherent unpredictability of their actions was what made them so dangerous.

Eventually, Julian broke the silence with a soft laugh, “Why so nervous? I’m just here to greet you; go on and deal with whatever you want, don’t mind me!”

Myron’s face blanched at the betrayal, but he just sighed and stepped forward, “Lord Richard, Link might have committed a crime, but saying he deserves the death penalty for it is a serious accusation. My family does not believe your public statement, and even if you were speaking the truth this should be a matter for the courts to decide. The boy is an earl’s successor, the assembly has to consider this case. I ask that you send him to the Alliance prisons.”

“That righteousness is nice and all, but what if I don’t? Do you plan on snatching him away?” Richard asked dully.

This caused the Duke to go stiff. His elites had been the first backup plan, hopefully able to rush in and exfiltrate Link, but Richard’s military force was much stronger than expected. Just what kind of family was so bored as to leave hundreds of rune knights lazing around on their island at all times? Weren’t they supposed to be used in war?

It was at this point that he came up with a conjecture that terrified him. The Archerons had been played in the political arena in recent times, and Richard still hadn’t retaliated against the conspiracies. The Myron Family had just delivered itself to him on a silver platter, becoming a scapegoat that allowed him to demonstrate his power.

Just as he was about to respond, Richard waved his hand and took a sword from a rune knight nearby. He then stuck the weapon into the ground, “If you want to catch him, you’re welcome to try. Know this— any Myron who passes this sword will be killed!”

Having said this, Richard turned back towards the portal. Tiramisu and Nasia went along with him, but the 200 rune knights remained in formation and focused their unwavering attention on Myron and his soldiers. The sword stuck into the ground was extremely eye-catching in this hall, the provocation so great that Myron kept clenching his fists.

The Duke wanted to charge in without a care, but he knew that this was just suicide. His greatest backer seemed to be scared of Richard, so there was nothing he could do. Wait… he suddenly turned towards Julian who was staring at the portal, before looking back at the 200 rune knights; they could do this!

The rune knights only posed a threat to the legendary Julian if they could attack as a group. With how close the two sides were right now, he could break into their formation and cause chaos. At that time, Myron believed his own army would be able to strike down the majority of Richard’s knights, dealing a huge blow to the Archeron Family.

The possibility of destroying hundreds of the opponent’s rune knights in one fell swoop was almost irresistible, and Myron immediately whispered these thoughts to Julian. However, the man just stood in place as though he had heard nothing for a while before turning and walking away. The Duke was stunned, but he could only smile ruefully and let the feverish thoughts dissipate.

Julian had originally planned to come in with a grandiose excuse of maintaining the order of nobility and promoting fairness in his role as the prime minister. However, that idea was predicated on being able to snatch Link away in one fell swoop without causing bloodshed. The fourteen families of Faust were the pillars of the Sacred Alliance; it was one thing for there to be infighting, but a representative of the royal family attacking them would cause chaos. 

The Myron Family trying to steal away one of their own whose sins hadn’t been proved was poles apart from attacking the rune knights of one of the floating islands. The latter was an insult to the order of Faust itself, one so grave that it could break the entire Alliance apart. No matter how much hatred he had for the Archerons, how could Julian agree to give Apeiron such a huge problem?

And yet, this should have been a special case. It was common knowledge that Empress Apeiron and Her Excellency Sharon had engaged in battle at Floe Bay. Given her past temper, Her Majesty should have just destroyed the Archeron Family outright. Why was she being careful around them? The Duke came up with a conjecture that he couldn’t believe; was Apeiron planning to rule the Sacred Alliance properly?

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA