Book 8, Chapter 13

Battle of the White Deer(2)

“Richard,” Baynard said after a while, “I’ve been a legend for more than a century. At least respect my experience enough to show me your strength; if you’re powerful enough, I’ll withdraw immediately. If you keep ignoring me, I’ll have to fight despite the danger.”

Richard turned to face the old mage, “Alright, here’s my ability, the Apocalyptic Triad.”

Three distinct faces emerged before Richard. On the left was the demon, filled with an endless thirst for destruction and ruin. On the right was the impeccable beauty, an androgynous face that looked like a mix of elven royalty and celestials with an indescribable sense of vitality. Right in front of him was perfection, every line exactly where it should be even despite the sharp curved horns on top; a combination of demon, devil, and angel, chaos, order, and purity.

Baynard had never seen such an existence before. He found himself speechless the instant the three faces emerged, only able to feel three frightening wills focusing on him simultaneously and exerting such immense pressure that his soul was almost torn apart. It eventually dawned on him that each of these heads would be able to cast a different spell; even three grade 9 spells were impossible for him to block, but these seemed like they would be legendary grade. And if those spells actually layered together well… he shuddered at the thought.

The old mage had been able to live peacefully for so long despite his low talent because his legendary ability was defensive in nature. Even so, death would be inevitable if Richard targeted him. He also couldn’t recall a single person that would be able to face such power when at the same level, a thought that was all the more terrifying.

Would he have to lock Richard spatially, or maybe just alter timeflow to mess up the cadence? Baynard’s rich combat experience allowed him to assemble a number of response plans, but he couldn’t think of one which actually gave him a chance of victory, just survival. His robes were quickly soaked through with sweat.

…

Down below, Duke Turing’s face was turning uglier by the minute. His rune knights had been decimated, and as he looked to call upon his saints to assist them he realised most of the casualties at that level were from his own side. Richard’s subordinates were flashing around like beams of light, killing saints everywhere they went. Even most of the defensive warriors could barely withstand a single blow, while the rest died instantly!

Turning to find Cassius just as pale, his heart sank. The general sensed the Duke’s gaze, “Richard has far too many sky saints. Your Grace, we only have one option left; have His Excellency make a move. We can only win if Richard himself is defeated first.”

“Alright,” Turing gritted his teeth, looking up and shouting, “Your Excellency Baynard, make your move! Consider your offer accepted!”

Baynard had still been hesitating, but the Duke’s cries seemed to bring him to a decision. He nodded towards Richard and even bowed a little, “Your Excellency, today’s conflict was a misunderstanding. I will be taking my leave.”

A bright yellow flame enveloped Baynard’s body, vanishing from sight and leaving a stunned Turing behind. The legendary mage had actually escaped? And without even trying?

The Duke wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe his eyes. Many saints and the hundreds of thousands of troops below looked up in similar shock; even an experienced veteran like Baynard wouldn’t dare to fight Richard?

With all eyes upon him and Turing howling in rage, Richard simply pointed towards the Alliance troops and uttered a single phrase, “Destroy them.”

On the ground, the black and red Archeron army sped up and stabbed deep into the enemy’s flanks, turning right in place and burrowing a hundred different holes into their formation. The superior forces of the Sacred Alliance were massacred in a matter of hours, only a fifth of the original 150,000 soldiers escaping with their lives were the rune knights were annihilated. A full third of all their saints were killed, while Duke Turing was captured alive.

Amidst this all, few noticed as Turing’s personal guard of twenty soldiers of whom many were saints were eliminated in a single stroke by Richard. The Duke himself was dumbstruck as he was captured.

……

After the battle, Richard ordered his army southwards, marching an entire day and night to appear on the flank of the Millennial Empire. This time, he personally helmed the attack, with his followers, rune knights, winter soldiers, and other drones in the vanguard. It was an all-out attack with no route for retreat, and he was at the very tip of the spear.

Before the battle, Richard had only uttered a single order, “Follow me!”

From the ogre lord down to the ordinary knights of the army, passions were immediately inflamed. They chased after the increasingly distant figure who was personally slashing through dozens of opponents a minute to open up the attack. This battle dealt a heavy blow to the Millennial Empire, allowing only 10,000 of their 100,000 soldiers to escape while the elites were completely wiped out. Two dukes, four marquesses, and a number of earls were taken prisoner, and a majority of the saints fell in battle.

The Millennial Empire had a sense of honour that was evidently stronger than the Sacred Alliance. Even though they quickly realised they had lost, most soldiers refused to retreat or surrender. A lot more of their own died because of this attitude, but Richard suffered greater losses as well. At the end of it all, he had to leave his ordinary knights and soldiers to rest and reorganise as he brought 10,000 elites forward for a decisive battle with the Sacred Tree Empire at the foot of Blackrose Castle.

……

The engagement with the Sacred Tree Empire was the toughest of them all, but it was also the most brilliant display of command. Richard’s formations didn’t collapse or grow confused even for a second, and during moments of stalemate Gangdor suddenly brought 5,000 humanoids through from Faelor while Alice launched an attack with her own troops. The three-pronged attack slowly routed Solam’s forces and forced them away.

The Duke himself wasn’t convinced by this defeat, rising to the sky heroically to face Richard in a great duel. He was meant to possess a huge advantage as a shadow antimage, but Richard had promptly displayed the Apocalyptic Triad and sent an endless barrage of high-grade spells towards the assassin. No amount of magical resistance could withstand the intense volleys, and even using his ability and skills to deflect most of the damage, he’d once been locked in position near a melee and drowned in fireballs. The moment he fled with serious injuries, the army scattered in all directions.

In less than ten days, Richard had mustered his army to secure the surrounding areas and killed countless powerhouses while winning all of his battles. The countless nobles of all three empires quickly fell silent, none of them daring to speak out against the Archerons any longer.

……

Heavy, urgent footsteps rang through the dark corridors of Blackrose Castle as an exhausted Richard hurried to the command centre and flung himself into his chair.

“May we begin, Your Grace?” a mage cautiously asked, and sweeping his gaze around to see all of his followers and important generals Richard reluctantly waved his hand.

The mage opened a magical map that displayed the current military situation, his voice growing a little incredulous, “The forces of all three empires have been cleared from within the White Deer Domain. Gold Valley and the Kebi River are now firmly under our control, but the casualties are as follows…”

What followed was a tedious list of statistics. The war had barely ended, but a majority of the followers were still unclear about the situation. Having been more concerned with the battle between powerhouses, many of them hadn’t had the opportunity to pay attention to their losses earlier; their faces grew heavier with each number.

Richard’s losses were severe. He had lost nearly a hundred rune knights, and only half of the 100,000 troops had returned to Blackrose Castle. Most of the deceased were the broodmother’s elites and Archeron warriors, every death a heavy loss.

In exchange, they had decimated nearly 300,000 from the three great empires, killing a staggering 250 rune knights and nearly a hundred saints. This was equivalent to destroying three of the sixth-level families of Faust, a heavy burden to bear even if it was shared. Any number of ordinary soldiers lost wasn’t a problem— most nobles had an endless sea of such soldiers sitting in their private planes— but no one could overlook the deaths of the saints and rune knights. In many respect, the rune knights were even worse; while saints were generally less restricted and tended to escape more quickly, rune knights were soldiers through and through. Even in Richard’s battles, half of the saints had fled while only a handful of rune knights survived.

A normal soldier would be called a deserter if they escaped the battlefield, while one would only say that a saint had left. This was Norland’s reality; saints were respected beings that played by different rules, while rune knights were not.

Richard’s achievements were near-unbelievable. This wasn’t a battle against a frail secondary or tertiary plane, but a war against elite troops from the three great empires! All the families participating here combined likely had dozens of private planes put together, maybe even reaching a hundred!

As the mage finished his lengthy speech, an untimely snore rang through the command centre. All eyes turned to the origin, Richard himself.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA