Book 8, Chapter 19

The Fight Never Ends

Richard barely fought an hour before retreating through the portal, but Runai’s casualties were significantly worse than with his first attack; over eighty valiant souls had perished in that hour alone, an alarming figure when none of their souls could escape.

This time, he reappeared after a single day’s rest. Outside of his magic and swordplay, he also changed up his usage of the power of laws. Instead of forming a constant domain around him, he now only added it when using large area of effect spells that could preserve his energy for a longer time.

Runai stood up multiple times, but she eventually managed to resist the urge to join the fray herself and returned to her throne. The three goddesses were clearly observing every move, and they wouldn’t hesitate to attack if she dared go near the neutral zones. With the source of her faith cut off and the very laws of the world warped against her, she was slowly growing weaker than even the Goddess of the Hunt.

However, her divine servitors had already caught on to her restlessness, and they mirrored her worries. These servitors weren’t the same as petitioners or valiant souls, but instead false deities that lacked their own godspark and divine domain. Unlike the rest of her worshippers, they could still retain independent thought in her domain instead of listening to her every word.

In the distant battlefield, the mortal god of slaughter was bringing destruction wherever he went. The flash of a blade, the rumble of a spell, the blue blazes of fire that could leave even gods trembling in fear… Runai’s warriors were being harvested for his glowing blade. No valiant soul even approached him anymore.

Just killing petitioners was like plucking leaves off an enormous tree. The leaves could be regrown, and the only way to determine victory was to see whether the regrowing process was faster than the plucking. However, Richard was effectively digging up the roots and cutting them apart, cutting things off at the source.

To Richard himself, this was an entirely new battle experience. He had been on the weaker end of battles before, but he had never had to overcome a constant erosive force amidst battle in a similar way. Today, he had halved the amount of protection the three goddesses were offering him, relying on his own body’s strength to sustain the defences. At the same time, he had to keep his barriers up for the entire duration of the fight to remain safe from Runai’s sneak attacks.

Whenever the goddess focused her will on him, the erosive force would double in power. His barriers would be breached within seconds, requiring immediate patching. He had been injured like this yesterday, stuck in the middle of a rather long spell and unable to stop. When Runai had breached his barrier, she had doused his body in a dose of fiery divinity.

Besides, the enemy here never rested. The divine warriors were rather straightforward as they swarmed him whenever they could; it wasn’t the most creative of ways to do things, but it was certainly effective. These beings were like his own drones, not understanding fear as they charged at him with full obedience and total disregard for their own lives. It was just that they were simply no match for him regardless.

Whenever the fights started, all he wanted to do was kill, kill, and kill endlessly. Even with tens of thousands of enemies defeated, he still had strength left over to continue. What shocked Runai was that he didn’t make even the slightest of mistakes amidst the bitter hours of battle, something that he was impressed with himself for as well. When the next day’s battle started, he would continue devoting himself to his endless killing spree.

Over the following days, Richard felt like he was fighting through an endless horde of enemies. Every day he walked in just like any ordinary fighter, and after thousands of soldiers were dead he walked out exhausted. Amidst all the pressure and bloodshed, his martial arts improved to what he could only term as perfection. The weight constantly on him forced him to use simpler, more direct moves, not wasting even a single muscle’s effort in combat.

Even by the third week, it was starting to feel like his mind was drifting out of his body. Combat had become instinctive to the point that he almost never decided actively what move he would make; he just knew the right way to fight in any situation, and his targets would never escape.

All sorts of spell burst forth without warning from the three faces whenever they appeared. His control of magic was perhaps improving even faster than his battle abilities; he only ever picked the most appropriate spell for the situation, using the lowest possible grade to conserve his mana. The exercise was paying off in huge dividends; he now had a vast repertoire of low-grade spell combinations that were far more powerful than the sum of their parts. Some were very simple: a momentary group freezing spell followed by a shockwave could shatter a dozen divine warriors into pieces, or a combination of earth and raing magic before a lightning storm would form an electric arena with no escape. Even a simple multitarget slowing spell used at different grades would break up a formation instantly, giving him a huge opening.

Battle after battle, day after day, even Richard lost count of how many divine warriors he had killed. Hundreds of thousands of warriors had been absorbed into the Judge as he grew more and more fluid in battle, only anchored to the rest of the world by carving the days away on a stone pillar where he rested. As the war raged on, the frontlines crept towards Runai’s divine mountain, with her reserves of divine force melting away.

……

Three towering figures loomed over the divine passage controlled by the Goddess of the Forest, watching the battlefield and the hundred thousand warriors that were streaming into it. These were the true bodies of the three goddesses, here to keep tabs on Runai’s moves. At the same time, the goddesses were launching attacks of their own on the divine kingdom. Even though Runai’s divinity left them doing less a tenth of their full damage, they could still whittle away at her power. 

The portal flashed as Richard returned, exhaustion visible on his face. Thankfully, he had a lot of authority in this kingdom and could travel kilometres with every step. In only a few seconds, his figure flickered away and vanished into the depths of her shrine.

Up above in the void, the three goddesses watched him leave and started conversing with one another, the Goddess of Spring Water the first to speak, “Do you two think he knows he’s pushed the war forward a hundred years?”

“I think he only cares about the battles right now,” the Goddess of the Forest replied.

The Goddess of the Hunt continued to watch until he fell asleep, “Don’t you feel he’s becoming more terrifying? Those swords of his can harm our bodies! What if… and I mean, what if… he’s training in a way for mortals to kill gods?”

The Goddess of the Forest was shocked, “You’re saying he doesn’t just want Faelor, but… us?”

“Runai might just be the first.”

“But don’t we have a deal with him? We’ll retain our godsparks and domains even after his plane takes control of Faelor. He even promised more at the time.”

“Mortal promises are unreliable,” the Goddess of Spring Water said with a sigh.

“But… It was a magical oath…”

“And what’s to say that oaths constricting us so heavily are not trivial to his plane? Have you forgotten the woman who nearly destroyed our entire pantheon herself?”

The two other goddesses went silent. They had been inconsequential when Sharon first entered Faelor, and with the Goddess of Spring Water now an intermediate deity while they were on the verge, they understood just how terrifying she was. Was this a powerhouse from a primary plane? Someone who could wipe them out herself? It wasn’t surprising that nobody had questioned her when she was heading to Dragon Valley. She had severely injured many powerful deities like Cerces and Lutheris, but in merely thirty years she had clearly recovered while Faelor was still struggling to recuperate.

It was obvious that this Sharon wasn’t just a special exception either. The appearance of the one known as the Celestial Sage had completely shattered their delusions; clearly, Norland didn’t just have a single powerhouse at that level.

The Goddess of the Forest grunted in agony, “We’ve always cooperated with Richard… Without him, our kingdoms might have been destroyed already. However, we are still gods of Faelor. If he doesn’t respect the pact… If he turns us into targets… what should we do?”

Even though this entire conversation had been silent, she still reduced the volume of her mind, “How about we make use of this opportunity to destroy him?”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA