Honouring An Agreement(3)
Everything around Richard and Julian seemed to freeze, both Nyris and the royal guards who weren’t far away not daring to move a muscle. They all knew instinctively that even a single twitch would have fatal repercussions. A lone leaf flew by amidst the silence, but before it could reach the ground it suddenly split into two, then four, then eight. In the blink of an eye, it was reduced to such tiny fragments that one couldn’t even see it anymore.
Julian was the first one to make a move, his body vanishing only to be replaced by a naga with four sword-wielding arms. Richard simply raised his own blade and thrust it towards the monster, the move neither fancy nor fast but possessing a special trajectory within. It was the same attack that he had practiced countless times in the Land of Dusk, possessing nothing but perfect technique. Three faces flickered around him for just a moment as the monster disappeared entirely.
Richard’s attack seemed to have missed, but a startled cry rang out as a circle of fire spread a dozen metres in all directions, Julian appearing a several metres away and huffing once before the crimson flames were pulled back into his body.
“Your Grace, you’ve already…” Julian watched the blood dripping down the corner of Richard’s lips, but even though he only had a slight flush on his face he didn’t press the offensive. He watched Richard throw away the bent sword and flashed a charming smile, taking a large step to the side.
Richard smiled and led Nyris away through the path that had been opened up for them. She was incredibly pale and couldn’t help but be terrified, afraid that Julian would attack at any moment, but even as they stepped into the portal the legendary warrior didn’t make a move. Seeing this, the royal guards didn’t do anything either.
Once the light of the portal flashed, Julian suddenly bent back and coughed up a surprising amount of blood. Wiping it away with a handkerchief and looking at the crimson stains on the cloth, he smiled and muttered to himself, “That was fun!”
It was only once they were at the Archeron island and Richard claimed that it was safe that Nyris found the strength to speak. He had been emitting a slight pressure during the entire journey, and even without it being aimed at her she had felt suffocated and afraid to speak. Now, she shuffled around uneasily, “I’ll bring you a lot of trouble.”
“Too late to worry about that.”
“But what can I even do to repay you?” she found her mind failing her entirely.
“Simple,” Richard relaxed, “Wear your armour, grab your axe, and go fight in the myriad planes.”
“Like back in the Forest Plane?” her eyes brightened.
“No, it’ll be more dangerous than that.”
“I like danger!”
“And I like trouble!” Richard grinned.
Nyris suddenly couldn’t respond, only able to lower her head and sigh, “If I wasn’t so stubborn, you wouldn’t have to deal with all this.”
Richard shared the expression, “You really gave me no time to consider my options. I had to bring you back here immediately.”
Richard’s eyes suddenly widened at the realisation that she didn’t know, “Did you think becoming a woman would leave you immune to Apeiron and Macy?”
Nyris looked confused, her eyes wavering in a way that Richard could only call cute. He sighed powerlessly, “You still have your darkthunder titan bloodline, right?”
He then tapped on her abdomen, “Didn’t you even realise that women are the ones who have children?”
Nyris’s face turned pale as she realised what Richard was trying to say, mouth falling open in shock. Richard stood up and shook his head, “Alright, go bathe and rest, I’ll have someone send food to your room.”
“But the Empress…”
Anger flashed on Richard’s face as his voice turned cold, “Even an empress can’t do whatever the fuck she wants.”
For the rest of the day, Richard headed out to visit the masters of all the floating islands outside of the Mensas and Josephs. Most of the families chose to remain neutral, but both the Ironblood Duke and Duke Anan pledged their support. He then went to the Mage Association and met Thor.
When it came to Richard’s decision to protect Nyris, Thor found the situation to be extremely difficult. Apeiron’s strength and personality could leave anyone with a big headache, but Philip was extremely close to him and he couldn’t just abandon the child. In the end, he agreed to try his best to stop Apeiron from torturing Nyris further, but only on the condition that no direct conflict arose.
This was all the support that Richard could get, and that came because he was a saint runemaster on good terms with Ruben and a student of Sharon. If not for everything, he likely wouldn’t have gotten support even from the Ironblood Duke. No matter how talented Nyris was, he was only a prince that wasn’t even legendary; there was no comparing him to Apeiron.
Thankfully, the situation was such that he could at least fight back. With the support he did have and the backing of Sharon, even Apeiron would have to draw the line. It was only that she had no logic to her working; if she wanted to kill him, Sharon would never arrive in time.
It was late in the night when he returned to the island. Sitting in his study, he suddenly felt tired in both body and mind as though he’d fought a powerful enemy. Politics was not his battlefield, but he had to take part in it regardless. It was only when he thought things over that he realised the support he got was nowhere near as firm as he’d thought initially.
One fact remained. If Apeiron were to act out, nobody would be able to help him. It would be unlikely for him to flee as well, while it was certainly impossible to save Nyris. However, he could only smile wryly; there was no way out at this point.
During this period, he had been informed that the Empress wasn’t in Faust. This gave him time to make some preparations, but waiting was another form of torture.
Late at night, Apeiron was floating alone in the night sky as she stared at the distant Deepblue. The tower city was elegant but also frightening; with all of its prior damage repaired, this building showed its terrifying power. The Deepblue wasn’t just a research institution, but also a fortress that blocked the duergar and orcs from breaking into the Sacred Alliance.
As the Empress was staring quietly into the distance, her expression suddenly changed and she leant to one side. She and Julian had their own methods to communicate over long distances, and he had just contacted her.
Once she heard the report, the corners of Apeiron’s lips turned up into a mysterious smile, “Richard? That kid’s pretty daring.”
She turned around and her figure blinked away, appearing several hundred metres in the distance silently. In only a few moments, she was gone.
Early morning the next day, Richard met a special guest right after finishing his breakfast: Saint Martin. However, Martin wasn’t alone this time and had brought servants, one of whom was an aged priest of unknown position in the Church of Glory. Another was a paladin who looked just as aged, while the other two were another paladin and a monk, both in their thirties.
Seeing the four of them, Richard’s heart skipped a beat. The aged knight and priest were both legendary, while the younger two were sky saints. Each one of them had an aura of dense bloodlust that showcased their skill at battle as well.
“Rather interesting troupe,” he commented.
Martin burst into laughter, “I’ve shown you all of my trump cards! But then, I had no choice; these things are far too important and I can’t let anything go wrong. How did you actually finish them so quickly?”
“I made them in a private plane, the time flow there is 10 times Norland’s.”
“But that’s still very fast.”
Richard grinned, “Then I’ve shown you a trump card as well.”
Martin extended his hand once more, “So, about that alliance…”
Richard slapped the hand away, “It’ll be the death of me.”
“Haha, how’s that possible?” Martin’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Shall we?”
Richard nodded, bringing him to the warehouse.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA