Book 7, Chapter 172

Tancrede

The blood inquisitor covered a number of knights in crimson light, strengthening his targets even more than Runai’s pope could manage. In addition to the jade shamans, he immediately improved the strength of Richard’s army greatly and broke the momentary stalemate.

Runai’s army quickly devolved into chaos once more. The pope was burning all of his divine force to support his troops, body visibly shrivelling up, but the difference in power between the two sides was too wide to close. Even now, Richard hadn’t entered the fray himself.

Be it the jade shamans, the blood inquisitor, or the terrifying thunderclouds, even casual participation from Richard was frightening. Nobody could doubt that he was the strongest being in the Crimson Dukedom.

However, there were surprises in store for him as well. A flying scout suddenly noticed a small cavalry unit approaching the battlefield at a high speed, prepared to charge into his rear in a few minutes. Although there were only a hundred paladins, their speed and stealth made it clear that this was an elite force comparable to the shadowspears.

Richard turned around in mid-air, glancing at the paladins charging towards him with surprise, “Does Neian want to get beaten up again?”

At the lead of the paladins was a knight in his early thirties. The man raised his longsword and his aura surged, “I am Tancrede, the captain of the Grand Cathedral’s paladins. Today’s battle is my decision alone, it has nothing to do with my Lord.”

Hearing this, Richard smiled faintly and pointed at the troop, “Not bad, you snuck pretty close. But aren’t you just looking for death with such a small army?”

Tancrede laughed, “What does it matter? Life and death will be determined in battle. Come, Richard, show me your so-called unrivalled ability!”

At the knight’s command, the platoon of paladins rushed straight towards Richard’s rear. There wasn’t much time to adjust the battle formation, but Richard didn’t want to slow down his assault anyway and just swung around to face the knights himself. The Book of Creation and Holding flipped open to a page of its own accord, and glancing at the bizarre tetrahedron on it he began the summoning.

A faint light emerged from the book, outlining a glowing tetrahedron that slowly started rotating by itself. Richard felt a chill down his spine as all three hearts skipped a beat, an indescribable feeling of desolation, loneliness and deathly silence overcoming him. It almost felt like the end of the world.

“ON GUARD!” Tancrede shouted abruptly. He couldn’t tell what the floating tetrahedron was, but the aura of apocalyptic danger it gave off made even him want to turn tail and run.

However, it was too late. A faint beam of white light shot out from each corner, piercing through four paladins in an instant. Aura, energy barriers, armour… nothing stopped them even for a moment. Starting to grow faster, the object shot out another four beams followed by four more. It quickly became what looked like a whirling orb of white lightning that rained death rays down on its targets, destroying every opposing paladins within a few dozen metres.

Tancrede himself soon had a finger-width hole on his left arm, having managed to turn his head away the moment the beam was shot towards him. Some of his comrades had tried to fight back, but any ranged attacks were shot down or bounced away, with one combined attack even countered by a concentration of death beams from three of its vertices.

Even Richard was at a loss for words. The tetrahedron was just far too powerful; even without any signs of actual life, it seemed to be an object designed to slaughter its enemies. He almost felt like this thing could turn him into one of heaven’s mythical battle angels.

Everything within the tetrahedron’s sphere of control had died, with only Tancrede himself managing to reach Richard through sheer force of will. Looking at the knight who was inundated with holes, Richard could only sigh and deflect the flaming greatsword aimed at him with Moonlight and the Judge.

The blade of the greatsword fell to the ground, while Tancrede crashed down and tried to support himself with the hilt. He almost fell again as he tried to look up, eyes gradually losing focus, “Richard… Neian’s worshippers… courage. Faelor’s knights… bravery…”

With only a few random words actually sounding out, the captain of Neian’s paladins lost all of his ability to speak. His eyes completely faded, but his body refused to fall.

Richard sighed and looked up at the tetrahedron that was still spinning in the air, suddenly feeling like the world had grown a little stranger. He had never thought a massacre could be so simple and efficient before today. Recalling it into the Book of Creation and Holding, he gently caressed the tome and felt its familiar ridges as he decided to rename it: it would now be called the Book of Destruction.

When he turned back, Runai’s army was already wavering. Everyone had witnessed the valiant assault being broken down with almost no effort at all, Neian’s powerful paladins now strewn about in pools of blood. Richard’s own last blow had been crisp and clean, but the only thing in people’s minds was the tetrahedron that had caused them to blank out.

Massacre wasn’t a sufficient word to describe that scene. The paladins had no way to block or even dodge those beams of death, their powerful armour pierced through like it was cheese. The strange object was extremely precise as it killed all of its opponents and even their attacks with constant high speed, and there were no signs of slowing down either. It seemed like the thing could kill a hundred or ten thousand with no change to the effort required. Even facing a demon or devil, one would not feel such hopelessness.

Richard sighed again, looking at the pope that was still desperately burning himself up to boost his paladins, feeling strangely bleak. That tetrahedron had left him feeling a vague sense of pressure, and the ice-cold massacre left even him depressed. Retrieving the Twin of Destiny that he hadn’t used in a long time, he brandished the staff and connected to the distant clouds.

A bolt of cyan lightning immediately struck the airborne pope, thicker than his entire body and covering his vision in an instant. The pope’s divine force was ignited in a dazzling golden inferno as his body turned to ashes in the blink of an eye, depriving the paladins of their only hope.

It didn’t take much time afterwards for the battle to be decided. Dismayed and outmatched, Runai’s soldiers quickly fell apart at the hands of Gangdor and the drones. Richard breathed a sigh of relief, but he suddenly felt a sense of overwhelming danger and managed to glimpse a red beam of light zooming across the sky.

His vision suddenly turned crimson as he fell to the ground, every corner of his body burning and tearing apart. Even he nearly blacked out from the pain for a moment, but his hearts pumped with great force to try and grapple with the unknown force that had invaded his body.

He struggled to sit up, coughing out some blood. Schloanruven was activated to heal him internally, but even with the tree of life at full power the energy attacking him only dissolved slowly.

“Blood… sacrifice…” he suddenly raised his head towards the Divine Fort, watching as another similar beam of light shot towards the sky.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA