Book 7, Chapter 173

City of Death

Knowing that the strange energy was the curse from a blood sacrifice, Richard came up with a few ways to defend against it. Six barriers were put up in the moments before the second beam struck him, but the attack was unexpectedly dense and wiped out all of his defences before entering his body once more. His face went bright red as he spurted out some blood from his mouth.

A number of his knights immediately rushed to his aid, but the mass of blood shot straight towards them. The shadowspears lost their footing for a moment before continuing on, while the humans were instantly paralysed and fell to the ground, all fluid gushing out from their bodies as they dried out rapidly.

Richard cringed, “This is a sacrifice with more than a thousand people!”

Where could the city find so many sacrifices? The answer was obvious.

As another pillar of light shot out from the Divine Fort, all colour drained from Richard’s face as he rushed to Gangdor’s side and threw him away. Having lost its target for a moment, the mass of blood deviated from its original path to strike down on him instead. Mustering up all the energy he could, he slowly floated into the sky and tried to confront it head-on.

“BOSS!” Gangdor screamed in shock, shivering as Richard’s barriers were broken once more.

This blood curse was immensely powerful against living beings, and the first two strikes had already left Richard injured. The blood energy within his body was roaming around and trying to destroy the organs, and the third curse amplified its power greatly. He was forced back to the ground, kneeling down as he gasped rapidly with blood spilling out of his mouth.

Richard himself wasn’t sure if he could hold out against the power of these curses, but he was certain that Gangdor and the rest of his knights were helpless against it. He spat out the blood that was clogging his throat, but the red in his vision did not change. If he had enough time, he could wear away the curse and recover to full potential; however, the tens of thousands of people in the city could fuel quite a few more curses.

“Stand up, get yourself together…” he muttered to himself, pushing down on the Twin of Destiny to get to his feet. His entire body felt like jelly, limbs taking forever to act on the instructions from his mind. Amidst all the chaos, he realised that he hadn’t yet used the power of Dizmason. But that would be stupid! his rationality screamed. The power of destruction was to be used against enemies, not against oneself.

As another blood-red pillar shot up from the Divine Fort, Richard mobilised the trace remains of his consciousness. A trace of his second mind finally pulled back from its never-ending analysis of martial arts, immediately pulling a jade shaman in front of him. The blood curse immediately turned the summon into red mist, but the attack was finally neutralised.

Gangdor ran towards Richard for a moment before coming to a halt, watching the blood inquisitor and the remaining shaman head over. Taking off his helmet, he growled fiercely before charging back into the fray with his axe. The brute was immediately swallowed by the sea of enemies.

…

His mind failing him by the second, Richard found himself falling into a strange world without light nor matter. He looked around him, only finding darkness beyond darkness, but it felt like something was hiding within. 

“This isn’t right…” he muttered to himself, forcing himself awake ever so slightly, “I should… be on the battlefield.”

This sentence seemed to break through the silence of the dark world, illuminating him in a ray of light. The light wasn’t particularly strong, but it broke through the darkness and showed him the path to escape. Suddenly realising that this was the power of Truth, he forced himself to float up and out as quickly as he could.

In the deep darkness, a pair of irisless eyes opened abruptly right after Richard’s departure. Each one of them seemed large enough to occupy an entire world, but there was an inexplicable grace to their translucent red glow.

The eyes moved to follow Richard’s departure, a deep voice ringing through the darkness, “I should be on the battlefield indeed.”

…

When he finally returned to his senses, Richard was kneeling in the centre of the battlefield. The blood inquisitor and remaining jade shaman were nowhere to be seen, while the corpses of a handful of shadowspears were strewn about nearby. The blood curse was still tearing at his body, and the war was still ongoing as well.

Runai’s troops had been on the verge of complete collapse at first, but the sight of him getting attacked endlessly had obviously revitalised them. With his second mind also pulling shadowspears from the battlefield, they had managed to survive.

Gangdor and the winter soldiers were tearing through the mob, drawing blood wherever they went. However, Runai’s soldiers were basically giving up their lives just to exhaust them, delaying for time and hoping for a miracle.

…

The loud cries of Runai’s priests rang throughout the Divine Fort, “Move Faster! Your entire families will be burnt to death if you delay!”

About 800 people were gathered in the arena, with more being chased out of their homes to join. A hundred paladins were killing all who tried to escape, and after a few dozen turned into a stream of blood the rest grew more obedient.

“Kneel! Pray, all of you!” a red-robed old priest bellowed at them. Most of the citizens followed his command, but the few who refused were killed by the nearby warriors. The priest pointed at a stern-looking middle-aged woman that had shown herself on the temporary platform nearby, “This is an avatar of the Lady! We are going to witness a miracle today!”

Seeing the priest crouch on the floor like he would cry, most of the city’s residents quieted down. Their prayers grew clearer and more organised.

Runai swept her gaze across the crowd before pointing at the priests and warriors around it, “All of you, stand with them!”

The clergy was confused, but they wouldn’t refuse a divine command.

“You as well!” she pointed to the old priest.

The priest staggered into the crowd, turning around to look at the avatar of his goddess. He saw red light illuminating her figure before his body was assaulted with great pain, tendrils of blood shooting out from the ground and piercing through his body. As the fear washed over him, his vision turned black and he lost consciousness.

Everyone in the arena fell, but there were no screams or struggles. It was like they had all fainted and slept, but an ocean of blood washed through and flew into the sky at the avatar’s command.

Seeing the desiccated corpses, she smiled to herself, “If you want this city, you’ll get a city of death!”

…

Watching another pillar of blood shoot out from the city, Richard blanched. His estimation told him that there shouldn’t have been many people at all; given the strength of the blood curses, nearly ten thousand people had already been used.

However, this time the blood curse itself didn’t really inspire fear in him. Seeing the affront to his dignity, he focused his gaze on the sky and let out a savage growl. A phantom suddenly appeared behind him, a demonic face with the grace and pride of a devil. It largely resembled him, but the several long and twisted horns on its head suggested an exotic lineage.

The phantom flew out and charged towards the blood pillar, causing the earth to shake from the exchange. Amidst the chaos, Richard entered combat against Runai’s conscients that controlled it.

The phantom quickly returned to Richard as he collapsed to the ground, but back in the Divine Fort the conscients controlling Runai’s avatars were hammered back to her divine kingdom. Losing the force driving them, Runai’s two avatars quickly fell down and burnt to a crisp.

Now laid on his back, Richard smiled a little despite his dazed eyes. After a moment, he even laughed out loud. This was certainly the most exhilarating part of the battle yet, and he had fought a goddess’s mind and forced it back to its divine kingdom. Even though he had suffered some injuries in that exchange, this was victory in a frontal battle of souls and laws!

The surviving shadowspears quickly re-entered the battlefield, and Gangdor grew even more violent in his attacks. Most of the legendary armour had been taken off by this time, wounds all over his upper body while he was covered in a mass of blood that belonged to both his enemies and himself.

Still lying down, Richard managed to connect his mind back to the broodmother’s drones and the brute, “Gangdor, come back.”

It took a few repeats of the command, but Gangdor reluctantly returned to Richard’s side. The surviving knights immediately withdrew into a defensive stance, opening up some distance from the church army.

A split-second later, lightning and thunder covered the entire world. The thunderclouds exploded into lightning storms that turned the earth into hell, Richard’s own soldiers only protected by earthen barriers from the surviving mages. The storm didn’t last long— he didn’t have much energy to replenish it with— but the smell of burnt corpses quickly covered the battlefield.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Angie

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA