Man In The Shadows
The cloned brain sped along for nearly fifty kilometres, heading deep into the mountains north of the Pearl Necklace. The trail of disturbed laws ended at a mountain peak hidden in the clouds, and Richard let the drone fly away while he slowly closed in.
When he was further away, he had almost missed this mountain peak despite looking closely. Even if everything here was covered in ice and snow, he should have been able to see it from much further than a hundred metres away. Even now, he had to use Field of Truth or he couldn’t keep track of it; without that, there would have been a chance that he’d just bump into the thing before discovering it.
The entire mountain range felt vast and empty, not even housing any birds or beasts. The wind was biting cold, and from high above all one could see was snow. Every breath left a puff of white that hardened into shards of ice in mere moments, falling to the ground below. As he went higher towards the peak, Richard had to summon a tendril of warm yellow flame from his fingers.
However, even that flame dimmed away. The flame started wavering in the air, its heat sucked into the mountain peak until it was all but gone. Richard ended up having to activate some moonforce to keep it working. At the same time, the surge of heat dimmed the dense cloud cover before him and turned it translucent, revealing the black rock of the mountain.
“How did you find this place?!” a furious voice rang out all of a sudden.
Richard locked in on the source of the voice, snickering, “Is it really that difficult?”
“Nobody can find this place, not even Lyos! Zabal told you, didn’t he? I knew he wasn’t trustworthy!”
“Heh, just come out. There’s no point hiding now.”
The clouds started to shift away from the mountain, changing the scenery behind it entirely. The empty peak soon revealed an intricate courtyard with shady trees, a carpet of grass, and a clear stream running through it. A large illusion had evidently been hiding this all, and for it to even exist amidst the cold north hinted at a number of other magic arrays that kept the ecosystem stable.
A balding old man walked out of the house on the peak, flying up and stopping right before Richard. He wasn’t very tall, but he looked dignified and well-groomed. His eyes that looked like inverted triangles looked Richard up and down, scanning for his age and mana.
“You’re not legendary yet,” the man’s voice was piercing.
“Nope, level 20,” Richard stated honestly.
“Then how did you find this place? Even the Goddess of the Hunt can’t track me down, who’s helping you? Is it your teacher? Get them to show themselves!”
“She isn’t in this plane.”
“Isn’t in this… Isn’t in this plane? You really are an invader!”
“And? Don’t your dragon disciples come from another plane too?”
At this point, the man gasped in surprise, “H-How did you know?”
Richard snorted, his own eyes starting to glow, “Only you Faelorians who’ve been dumbed down by your gods are actually too stupid to realise it. Anyway… are you going to surrender immediately, or will you be an annoyance?”
“What are you doing?” the man asked with a shiver, grey energy surrounding him. This power was akin to the internal energy of a warrior, but he seemed to be a special kind.
“Surrender or fight?” Richard repeated, Moonlight already in his hand.
“Fight?” the old man fumed, “You’re not even a legendary mage! Who is your teacher, and what is your relationship with Lyos? Be honest, and I’ll consider leaving you alive.”
Richard stroked Moonlight’s blade, causing it to light up, “So what if I’m not legendary? I slaughtered saints when I wasn’t one myself, I don’t need to be legendary to take down a dying man. By the way, when I say saint, I mean what you people call sub-legendary beings.”
“Stop the drivel, you’re wasting my time. Annoyance it is, I guess.”
“I’ve been a legend for centuries, and I haven’t yet seen someone as arrogant as you…” The old man’s expression froze over. He was still a legendary being with pride of his own; he wouldn’t take such disrespect from a child. However, his figure still disappeared in the midst of his speech; having decided to battle, he had only stalled for time so he could enter stealth.
The skies seemed empty, with no signs of the old man at all. Still floating in mid-air, Richard acted like he was surprised and immediately looked around, instacasting a few detection spells but with no success. Seconds later, he started throwing fireballs all around to cover as much of the area as he could. The clouds underneath scattered immediately, but some barriers around the courtyard kept it from sustaining any real damage.
Still hidden, the old man smirked. Trying to force someone out with blanket attacks was far too primitive, and wouldn’t work on a legendary being whose strong suit was stealth.
Richard didn’t stop the pointless attacks, but his eyes had locked onto light grey traces long ago. The old man certainly managed to conceal his aura and break away, but the remnant signs from his usage of laws couldn’t be wiped away so easily. The spells were all a smokescreen to present the facade of being unable to track him, when in fact he had noticed the assassin only moments after the first escape. Every quick jump away from a fireball left traces that showed the man was getting closer and closer.
There was something else that caught his attention. The marks the old man left behind had sometimes interacted with the flames, but there were no changes in those areas at all. It was as though the man had no physical body, something that was definitely unusual. While they were a distraction, each of the fireballs had a trace of his truename’s power within as well; even legends couldn’t take them on directly with no damage at all. On the other hand, the assassin was clearly barely a legend; he would die very quickly in the myriad planes. In other words, the sections where the flames were unaffected were illusions.
He meticulously crafted a trap, acting like he was looking left and right while his perception was focused straight in front of him. Moonlight suddenly lunged forward like lightning, appearing to strike nothing, but the blue moon appeared above Richard’s head and formed a shadow blade that shot forward. A scream of agony rang broke through the howling winds, the old man’s pathetic figure popping out a hundred metres away. He was now in complete disbelief, glancing between the grey shortsword in his hands and the injury at his abdomen with panic and fright.
There was a visible nick in the assassin’s shortsword, faint blue flames still burning across the blade. The abdominal wound was a clean stab through, a faint blue line of fire failing to conceal the air blowing through. The man had never seen such powerful flames before, or anything even remotely similar to the pure destructive power they held. Such powerful laws were clearly beyond that of ordinary legends, but Richard hadn’t even reached the legendary realm yet!
Voice trembling, he stared at Richard’s sword, “Where did this sword come from?”
“Silvermoon Palace,” Richard answered.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA