With the death threat against him, Richard slowly got up and walked to the middle of the hall, drawing his two divine blades, “Just try me.”
For the first time, Julian coughed and spoke up before the Empress, “Your Grace, is it worth it?”
Richard said calmly, “It isn’t about worth anymore, but honour and dignity. Not everyone has to bow to epic beings.”
Applause rang out as Saint Martin walked over, “Well put! I’m going to participate.”
The family heads all looked shocked, while Julian frowned hard as well. Saint Martin was the only holy child of the Church of Glory, slated to become the next pope. To the theological society of the Sacred Tree Empire, he was one of the most important people in the world. If anything happened to him here, war was inevitable.
Seeing Martin walk to his side, Richard frowned and hissed, “Go back, you’ll die!”
Martin shrugged, “I know, but whose fault is it that I owe you?”
“You’ll really die! Go back!”
“You talk a lot of shit, stop trying.”
At this point, the Ironblood Duke finally stood up as well, “This is enough. Your Majesty, as the Empress of the Sacred Alliance, please mind yourself. We can still relieve you of your position and form a council instead!”
Apeiron glanced towards the man and asked, “Does that mean you’re on his side?”
The Duke hesitated, but then he steeled himself, “In this matter, yes.”
Her gaze then swept across the other patriarchs, “How about you? Who else wants to side with him?”
This time, Duke Wellinburg stood up, “This is not in support of Richard, but I do not approve of your methods. Even an empress cannot do as she likes, waving her sword at the fourteen. Charles the Great cemented our relationship as equals when he founded Faust!”
To this point, the other family heads expressed their approval. However, Apeiron suddenly chuckled, “You want to go against me? How are you going to do that?”
Her laughter suddenly grew piercing and maniacal as she abruptly stood up, no eyes in this room able to catch her movements. She was suddenly hovering in mid-air, a tremendous aura surging from her body and enveloping the hall.
*CRASH!* The mirrors all around immediately shattered into smithereens, but the shards were left hanging in mid-air as though time had frozen. The entire island suddenly rose and was covered in flickering golden light that threatened mass destruction, but nobody within could tell and those outside only felt a sudden sinking feeling.
The hall remained deathly silent, the family heads all frozen with expressions of fury or terror without any movements at all. Only the two legends who had challenged Apeiron managed to move, but this wasn’t a good thing either; they suddenly spat out mouthfuls of blood, auras quickly weakening. Duke Orleans took several steps backwards in shock and fury, an unnatural flush rising on his face.
Even without doing anything, Empress Apeiron had used her powerful aura to injure two legendary opponents. This was the power of an epic being!
Eyes blazing with purple flames, Apeiron asked coldly, “I was riddled with injuries when I returned. Did you think that was all I had?”
Even though the Empress didn’t look at him particularly, Richard felt more pressure upon him than on anyone else in the room. The invisible force rushing against him was like an entire plane pressing down, locking him down to the point where the only thing he could do was keep his blades from dropping. He felt an urge to step back with every word she spoke, the laws of metal, life, and flames torn apart in front of the formless might. He even mobilised the other laws he barely knew, like that of the night and time, but those were shredded as well. When she was done speaking, his vision blacked out and he coughed up a mouthful of blood.
It was at this point that a tender hand pressed into his back, gentle divine force surging into his body to help him contend with the destructive power Apeiron was pouring into him. He froze up in surprise as he realised who it was; in a situation where everyone in the hall was injured, Martin was surprisingly fine!
Are you not afraid of her? Unable to speak, he could only turn around and ask the question with his eyes. Still, Martin seemed to know what he was thinking and grunted, “Who says I’m not? That woman is so much more powerful than before, even the old man Hendrick would probably get beat up. This is all I can do for you, you’ll have to rely on yourself.”
Having said this, Martin even patted Richard’s back before crumbling to the floor and falling unconscious. Although he was still shocked, Richard could only turn back and meet Apeiron’s gaze head on.
The Empress hummed and a chilly wind spread from her body, holding some strange power of law within. The wind immediately destroyed the revitalised power of his own laws, making his entire body turn soft. The Judge and Moonlight were immediately thrust into the ground, both blades barely managing to keep Richard in a half-kneel instead of collapsing directly.
“You’re really naive to think you can talk sense with me,” Apeiron said coldly, and nobody managed to rebut her. Even the Ironblood Duke looked ashen as he remained silent, not by choice but because he, too, was unable to speak. A powerful glow at his arms was barely keeping him protected, but if he lost focus on it for even a second a single blow would be fatal.
As Apeiron’s blazing eyes fixated on Richard further, he felt himself sink down. However, he struggled back against the humiliation; even when he couldn’t lift his head, he made sure that he would not fall.
His blood suddenly started to flow rapidly, the five world trees within sparkling with power as they drew out all of their power. The volcano deep within rumbled with a dark red stream of magma, the power of his full truename pulsing in preparation to go all out. In the strange world where his bloodlines intertwined, three masks were beginning to take shape.
However, Apeiron suddenly snorted and her aura fell back like a tide, everyone in the hall regaining their ability to move freely. Half of the family heads started coughing up blood, even the legendaries having to do all they could to suppress their internal injuries. The stronger ones amongst them had only been more injured, not less.
The Empress walked over to Richard, who was still struggling to get up, “Since your dignity is so important, that’s what I’ll take. Come, kiss my boot. As long as you do it, I’ll forget this and let you two go.”
Seeing the shoe appearing in his vision, Richard shuddered with unadulterated rage. However, he looked up and stared at her for a full minute before turning back down and kissing the mud-covered boot.
“Leave. Don’t let Nyris come near me ever again,” she turned and left the hall. Julian gave Richard a long look, his gaze seeming to hide various emotions, but he didn’t say anything and just followed behind.
Richard slowly got up, putting his blades back in their sheath and spitting out the dirt on his lips. He then picked up the fainted Martin and turned around as well. As he exited the hall, he suddenly found himself feeling very calm.
Exactly three days later, a proclamation shocked the Sacred Alliance and all of Norland. The current head of the Archerons, saint runemaster and legendary mage Richard, had announced his withdrawal from the Alliance. Henceforth, the Archerons would be an independent noble family.
In only three days’ time, everything had been taken care of in secret. When the proclamation spread throughout the Sacred Alliance, the last of the Archeron soldiers had just entered the portal to Blackrose Castle.
Richard stood in front of his window, fiddling with a black spatial gem the size of one’s fist. This gem held the Archeron family tombs within. In front of him was the view of Faust, in all of its dazzling glory and extravagance. Numerous people lived here far too comfortably, but many many more struggled for their lives. This was the hotbed of countless evils in the Sacred Alliance, as well as the wellspring of boundless dreams. There were just far too many memories in this city of miracles, but he now had to leave them all behind.
“I’ll be back,” he whispered to himself as he put the gem into his pocket, blue flames filling his eyes.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA