Book 8, Chapter 8

Challenge

Macy pointed her greatsword to the sky, golden light rushing down the blade like a current to surround her. Seeing these energy waves, Richard could immediately tell that she had activated her bloodline ability.

The golden moonriver was one of the top bloodlines of the Millennial Empire, second only to a handful in all of Norland. It could give rise to all sorts of powerful abilities, including a general boost to offence, defence, speed, and magic resistance. This was why Macy had the guts to challenge Richard when she wasn’t even a sky saint herself.

Another reason was that she was completely decked out in legendary equipment, many with long histories. Runemasters themselves were creators, not fighters; she didn’t believe he was all that strong.

Richard’s eyes glinted as she raised her sword even higher, studying the ripples of gold on the blade that had become even more apparent. This was a sign that her bloodline ability had already evolved once. Now, she could drop a spell’s power by almost three whole levels; in other words, even a grade 9 spell would only have grade 6 power when used on her. For a saint, this was almost an ant bite.

“DIE!” she shouted loudly, golden hair flying through the sky as her long blade chopped down. A wave of energy formed a crescent that shot straight for Richard. He took a huge step to the side and dodged the powerful attack by several metres, but she didn’t seem to mind as she slashed horizontally and sent another blade towards him.

Everything the energy touched was wreathed in golden flames; they didn’t seem particularly powerful, but even Richard felt a slight threat from them. Ordinary saints would likely succumb to the burn which was only elongated by the flames feeding off the energy in their surroundings.

“Let’s see where you run to now!” Seeing Richard dodge up, Macy’s golden hair danced madly as she raised her sword up straight. A rain of golden energy attacks covered every corner of the ring, covering it in flames that could burn mana.

But then, Richard’s figure just blinked out of existence before her eyes. Macy immediately looked everywhere and tried to sense any spatial disturbances in the surrounding space, but there was no sign of his target at all. By the time she felt the threat to her life, a powerful hand grabbed the back of her neck and pushed down with mountainous force.

*THUD!* Unable to fight back, the woman was slammed straight into the ground. Richard chuckled and patted her on the head before getting up, “You lost.”

His control of space already enhanced greatly due to his title from the Eternal Dragon, Richard had become a master at silent teleportation once he entered the legendary realm. Blinks and random portals barely caused any disturbance at all, allowing him to be extremely dynamic on the battlefield.

Macy got up and stared at Richard in a daze, still unable to understand just how she’d lost. However, Richard had no intentions of explaining anything to her and walked out of the duelling ring.

“Wait!”

He ignored the shout behind his back, continuing to walk away, “Remember to pay up, you can just send it to my room.”

“But…” she wanted to say more, but Richard had already left. Her squarish eyebrows locked together as her eyes glowed with rage and unwillingness. Eventually, she spat out, “This isn’t over! Just you wait!”

……

With Richard’s residence having been publicised, more trouble made itself known before Macy could even plan her next move. Right after lunch, a few swordsmen in bright armour walked inside the inn.

The entire Forest Nymph went silent at their arrival, the few guests who were still eating staring at them in a daze. Magic light kept flashing on their helmets, making it obvious that it was all superior-grade equipment. Each one also had an imposing aura, and they were all nearly saints. These were amongst the higher classes in the Emerald Lake, and rarely appeared in inns like these.

The leader of the swordsmen scanned through the interior of the inn and shouted in a deep voice, “Richard, come out! We represent Master Fazelok!”

Richard? The figure of a handsome young mage appeared in everyone’s minds, looking down and out in life. How could someone like that have offended a grand runemaster?

The swordsman’s expression darkened, but just as he was going to shout again he felt like his face was pricked by a needle. His expression changed immediately; this was bloodlust so thick it was almost material!

The owner of the bloodlust obviously wanted them to know the source, a room at the end of the corridor on the second floor. Growing serious, the swordsman waved his hand and had the rest wait by the entrance as he headed inside.

There was no lock to the door, and within was a small but tidy room. A young mage was engrossed in playing with something on his desk, an orb of sorts that had all kinds of intricate mechanisms on it.

“You must be— Ugh!”  The swordsman went mute in the middle of his speech, gazing blankly down at the sword now resting on his neck. He had prepared himself already when he felt that intense bloodlust from downstairs, but he still had no idea how the weapon had gotten there. Richard was now less than a metre away, blade’s sheath still in his hand. The jagged tip of the sword emanated a chill that pierced through his aura and into his skin. He gradually turned more ashen. There was no doubt that this was an incredibly sharp divine weapon, one that could behead him with a single slash.

Richard looked the man in the eye and patted his face with the Judge, “This is where I’m living, I’m sure you understand what I mean when I say no peasant should disturb it. Now, give me that letter.”

A while later, the captain walked back downstairs. While looking slightly pale, nothing looked amiss and he gestured his subordinates out, “We got the wrong person, let’s go.”

The swordsmen all looked stunned, but they still left with their leader. Meanwhile, everyone in the inn heaved a sigh of relief. This made sense; how could that young mage have anything to do with Master Fazelok?

Back in his room, Richard nonchalantly tossed a paper ball into the wastepaper basket before sitting down to meditate. This was a challenge from Fazelok, who wished to respond to the humiliation by way of a duel.

Having advanced to the legendary realm, he could now train in the Deepblue Aria. The meditation technique was now beginning to show its true effectiveness, his mind space expanding to show a sky full of stars. Each star represented a different type of origin force that could be converted into mana, but he still didn’t have the strength to access all of them. He was nearly done calculating the fifth orbit, and in a few days would be able to capture another star that would continue to replenish his mana endlessly.

He opened his eyes just past midnight, ending his meditation and walking out. He thought over things at the door, returning to grab the Judge before leaving with nothing else on him.

This late in the night, most of the city’s residents were deep asleep. Richard walked swiftly through the dark streets, each footstep following a silent rhythm. Numerous powerful conscients were fixated on him, but he seemed to feel nothing and just walked along at a fixed pace.

His destination this time was the duelling ring where he had defeated Macy earlier in the day. The doors to the ring silently opened before him, all the lights within already on with someone waiting for him. As he entered, the doors closed without a sound.

Time quietly flowed by. The entire ring seemed to shake a little at one point, shocking a passerby, but seeing the building completely silent afterwards the fatigued man rubbed his eyes hard and left in a hurry. Just as he turned the corner, the door to the arena opened once more.

Richard walked out calmly, his pace the same as before. The judge was in its sword case, but he now also had a magic-sealing case in his hand that held a top-tier offering within. These were the stakes for the nightly battle.

In the ring behind him, a middle-aged swordsman just stared blankly at his departing figure.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA