Book 8, Chapter 35

Cleaning Up

Richard quickly tossed Gangdor’s fanciful dreams aside, trying to throw the request out of his mind and turning back to Olar, “How is everything?”

“Running smoothly as ever. Our lands are flourishing, and Salwyn consolidated his position in the Iron Triangle Empire so he’s now focused on rebuilding their army. His initial plan is to set up four main regiments as well as a battalion of knights.”

“Any possibility of betrayal?”

“No, he’s experienced our might and is a smart man; he knows that there’s no way to oppose us. He also understands that we want the same thing as him, a prosperous Faelor.”

“Alright, what about the rest?”

“The barbarian plains are almost completely under our control; the enemies have retreated to what they call the Genesis, but we haven’t given chase yet. We have enough troops stationed to defend the city  As for Forgefires, Bamor has managed to take control of most of the dwarven colonies and is continuing to supply us with ore; there are no signs of rebellion on that front.”

The bard’s hand circled around to the south of the map, “Many of the human countries have sent people to swear fealty to us, while the bigger ones are requesting alliances. Considering the treaties, they’re vassals too, in all but name.”

Almost a third of Faelor’s map was now covered in dark red, areas including the Iron Triangle Empire that the Crimson Dukedom directly controlled. All along the perimeter were swathes of lighter red, indicating independent countries that were allies or had sworn fealty. Most of the blank areas were barren lands unsuitable for life, while some belonged to countries south of the Crimson Dukedom’s southern allies that Richard hadn’t yet conquered.

“What about the Dragon Plane?” Richard asked.

“Here’s the information on it,” Olar handed him a document, “Our clients have killed or captured a total of at least 532 dragons, but that’s only the number that were transported back. The actual number is likely half a fold higher.”

“Hmm… They should be running out… Give me a moment,” he said and switched to mental communication, “Broodmother?”

“Yes, Master?” the response came immediately.

“How many battle elites do you have ready?”

“500 winter soldiers and 300 arrowbeasts.”

“Send them all to Dragon Valley, and have the astral chrysalis bring a hundred rune knights from Bluewater.”

With that completed, he returned to Olar and pointed at the sea, “Tell Gangdor not to have any ideas on the seas. He can try to find a route linking to the south, but before that he needs to conquer the entire eastern coast. He has a year to do this.”

He then circled the south, including the vast region between the Crimson Dukedom and the sea, “This is for you. You’ll have a year yourself.”

The elven bard looked at the huge area that was almost 10 million square kilometres, his face sinking, “My Lord, this is too much! It’s hard to even travel there, and they’re supposed to have a number of gods. One year isn’t enough!”

“One. Year,” Richard wagged a single finger, showing that there was no room for negotiation. However, he continued to console the bard, “I’m giving you the troops to do it. Choose a hundred thousand soldiers from the Crimson Army, and get some soldiers from Salwyn and our other vassals. In total, you need to get to about 300,000.”

“My Lord? Wars can’t be won with just numbers; you’ve always showed this yourself. The weaker troops are just dead weight, they’ll put a huge amount of pressure on my supply chain. A year wouldn’t be enough to even make a single round around the place. Give me more drones, they work so much better!”

Richard laughed, “Numbers can still be useful sometimes. Nobody knows whether you’re taking a top tier army or the reserve forces until they battle you; they’ll take their chances if the numbers are near equal, but if you take 300,000 then not many will still have those guts. You’ll need to leave a large number behind at every territory you take over anyway.

“As for the broodmother, I’ll ask her to prep them for you. What do you want, shadowspears?”

“Hmm, not too many of those; 500 should be enough. I’d prefer the regular humanoid knights, at least 3,000 of them. I also want 20 wasps and a thousand workers, as well as three cloned brains. The brains will be essential.”

Richard smiled at the bard’s comprehensive request. This was something the rest of his followers didn’t possess; Gangdor would have just asked for a few thousand shadowspears and maybe a few cloned brains, but Olar was looking for a more complete army. He nodded, “I’ll send Waterflower with you, but keep an eye on the churches. If any of them are acting up, feel free to start a war. Once the three goddesses are done with the aftermath of Runai, I’ll have them head south to join you.

“Oh right, take these as well. If you find any demigods or divine avatars, feel free to use them,” he handed over a magic-sealing box which Olar opened immediately.

“Feeding worms!” the bard gasped as he saw the twenty eggs inside, taking a deep breath to calm himself. Richard’s followers always had a regularly updated list of the broodmother’s drones to make mobilisations easier, and this type was making the waves lately.

“Mature feeding worms,” Richard clarified, “There’s enough to deal with a greater god’s avatar, you should be fine.”

Olar shut the box carefully, still feeling a little uneasy. These worms were vicious creatures that could eat divine bodies; even though they weren’t interested in mortals, they were still frightening to carry around.

Finally, Richard pointed at Dragon Valley, “Inform all the rune knights to make their preparations; we’ll be attacking the Dragon Plane in ten days. Go check with everyone in the valley who’s a saint or higher too, see if any of them want to help clean up.”

……

Once Olar left, Richard informed his followers to prepare for battle before shutting himself in his laboratory for ten days. He spent the entire period processing materials for Midren.

By this time, the battle elite versions of the winter soldiers and arrowbeasts had arrived at Dragon Valley, the rune knights all gathered up. More than half of the saints around were willing to join the expedition, as was a legendary warrior.

Once all the winter soldiers and arrowbeasts entered the valley, even those who weren’t going to participate in the expedition put aside their work to come look. Each one of these drones had a terrifying aura, so much so that even the saints in the audience looked on with fear. Both the winter soldiers and arrowbeasts were almost saints, and three of the former could easily defeat a saint. With two arrowbeasts added on, most saints wouldn’t even be able to escape. But the power wasn’t the most frightening part; that came to the numbers, uniform appearance, and absolute synchronisation. While the 50 saints gathered for this expedition were a powerful force even considering Norland’s standards, the 800 drones could kill them two times over without even considering the 300 rune knights already waiting at the portal!

If Nasia and Richard had displayed their individual combat ability before, Richard was now showing his true prowess as a lord.

A large man who was almost three metres tall flew over and landed in front of Richard, looking at the winter soldiers and arrowbeasts with a calm gaze, “Your Excellency, when do we depart?”

“Right now.”

“Good, I’ll be the first one in!” The warrior plucked his two-metre tall shield from his back and swung it once, the action sending a breeze through the valley. This man was Tannan, a level 22 warrior who focused on strength and defence. He was extremely powerful in melee combat, capable of fighting dragons with his bare fists. Just like Richard’s own forces here, there was bound to be a defensive barricade on the other end; defensive legends were the best kind of person to go through first.

Tannan quickly disappeared into the portal, and Richard followed behind with Nasia in tow. Just before they stepped into the gate, he turned around, “Anything sacrifice-worthy in this trip is yours, that should be enough to get you to the legendary realm.”

Nasia was stunned for a moment, “Huh, you’re not guarding against me anymore? You’ll never be able to beat me if I become a legend; you can’t even do that now.”

He smiled, “Well, let’s just say I’ve decided to stop caring about that.”

Richard didn’t explain anything further, directly walking into the portal. Nasia just shrugged and muttered to herself before following, “He’s going crazy again. Whatever, it’s not a bad thing.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA