Book 8, Chapter 39

Crushed Gold(2)

With two of their number being wiped out in mere moments, the volunteer saints all paled. They hadn’t expected the dragons to be capable of using tactics and traps, always having considered them to be intelligent beasts and hunting targets. However, these dragons were proper soldiers under Kralkalor that had the organisation of a human legion; those who didn’t listen to commands thus paid the price.

It was only then that many of the saints remembered that Richard had marked a region for them to stay within. Turning back, they found the area filled with the radiance of magic, javelins shooting straight up into the sky. A handful of dragons ignored the tiny polearms and tried to swat them away with their claws, but this immediately left them with cause for regret. Many were pierced straight through, while others were still injured by the residual explosions. The most unfortunate ones were even ganged up on by a dozen rune knights, turned into pincushions before they fell from the sky.

Each stationary saint had been supported by three to five rune knights who stuck to their side, acting like a mobile fortress that forced the dragons to split apart and lose their cohesion. Outside of Richard’s followers, only a single sky saint was moving freely.

It was only at this point that the rest understood what was going on, quickly retreating to their designated positions. However, many of them were caught and killed by the dragons en route; in less than a minute, ten saints were dead.

Richard had a frown plastered across his face as he shuttled through the battlefield like lightning, the divine chant all around him dropping dragon after dragon from the sky. The winter soldiers below were already positioned to surround the targets, their heavy weapons hacking into flesh with ease. Tiramisu was having the time of his life, growling in pleasure as he ran around and tore them down one by one.

Up in the sky, Kralkalor, Tannan, and Nasia were engaged in battle. The gold dragon roared in threat while unleashing a barrage of attacks, but the legendary warrior managed to hold his own and keep the damage to a minimum. In the meanwhile, Nasia was like a phantom as she appeared on random spots around the dragon’s body, stabbing in deep before disappearing once more.

The battle seemed to be in a deadlock, but Kralkalor’s swipes and breath attacks were slowly growing more and more violent. From the looks of it, it wouldn’t be long before it managed to hit Nasia or slow Tannan’s movements. Seeing the situation devolve, Richard suddenly stopped in his tracks and stared the gold dragon in the eye, his own turning into little slits as he muttered in divine tongue, “Chaos.”

Kralkalor suddenly felt like he had been caught in a massive net, movements slowed down even as a number of spikes threatened to pull him apart in all directions. Every one of his movements was immediately  thrown off, even the simplest of claw strikes starting to fail while his flight was growing unstable as well. He growled in wrath and burst forth with power, shattering the forcefield around him, but the spell still didn’t dissipate and returned with vigour. It would take some time before he could wear it out completely.

While the dragon continued to struggle, Richard took the chance to send the most important command. 300 silent arrowbeasts all raised their heads at once, the glow of divine force intensifying in their eyes as they shot their bolts right towards Kralkalor. The gold dragon quickly noticed the divine flames covering these arrows and turned around to flee, completely ignoring Nasia who took the chance to start tearing into his back.

All 300 arrows adjusted direction uniformly, chasing after the fleeing dragon. In the meanwhile, the arrowbeasts fired another full volley that burnt the exact same way, both sets soon catching up with Kralkalor before stabbing into its body. A rain of crimson immediately covered the battlefield, and even with the dragon’s struggles the second volley brought him to the ground.

Richard quickly blinked up to Kralkalor’s nape, driving both of his swords so deep that their hilts dug into the dragon’s flesh. The very next instant, he withdrew and blinked several hundred metres away to avoid the desperate final attack. Watching the opponent fall to the ground, he turned to Nasia who appeared right next to him, “This is the end.”

“Hey, you stole that from me!” the paladin complained, “That’s so wrong!”

“I’m afraid there might be an unexpected surprise.”

“Huh? What can go wrong with me here?”

“Didn’t someone just fail to tell us about the number of dragons a while ago?” He looked over her once before charging back into the battlefield, using his spells and swords to send the remaining dragons towards Tiramisu and the winter soldiers.

Left in mid-air, Nasia shrugged and muttered to herself, “So what? It wasn’t you guys who died anyway, isn’t it better for more of them to die?”

The battle had finally come to an end, a hundred dragons killed or captured while only a dozen managed to escape. Richard had lost twelve saints and five rune knights, of which two of the saints were attached to the Archeron Family. The casualties also included over 60 winter soldiers, a great loss that couldn’t be recovered until he conquered another divine kingdom. The arrowbeasts were unharmed, but every one could only launch three divine force arrows and now they were left with one. They were almost reduced to the normal version. Of course, getting a powerful legendary metallic dragon with two volleys was a fair trade. He had only planned to get three legends in total anyway.

In the distance, Kralkalor’s carcass that was splayed across the ground had left a deep gutter in its wake. Despite no signs of life, the body itself still looked majestic and powerful.

“Your offering,” Richard pointed to the corpse.

“I know,” Nasia answered.

……

Once they were back in Faelor, all of the surviving saints were left in a mix of sadness and excitement. Many of their friends had lost their lives in this expedition, but there were also great rewards for the survivors. With the last set, each one of them earned a full dragon’s worth of treasure, a value far greater than a single greater offering that would have taken them years under normal circumstances.

The once fearsome Kralkalor had become a dragon crystal in Nasia’s pocket, as had a hundred others that made for a full half of the total number of dragons killed. Every single one was an offering of some grade, and that belonging to the gold dragon was certainly top-tier. However, Nasia had said that all this was barely enough to get her to the legendary realm. Richard had been dumbfounded by this and asked why, but now he wished he hadn’t made that mistake.

According to Nasia, since he already possessed two divine weapons, she deserved a full array of equivalent equipment once she advanced. That was what she planned to use the remaining divine grace for; to upgrade all of her current equipment from head to toe. He truly had nothing to say to that attitude, nor could he complain. If he were offering them to the dragon, he certainly wouldn’t get nearly as much out of them.

Thankfully, she only needed the crystals and left the remaining materials to him. They were also worth just as much if ont more, the materials from them enough to arm around 500 rune knights. A handful of mages were already scurrying back and forth under the protection of knights, while more were rushing over from Norland every day.

Richard’s base had quickly grown to a majestic scale, the entire area below the workshops carved with a spell formation that could greatly boost one’s mana and regeneration. At more than ten million gold the cost of the finished base was comparable to a mage tower and needed three months of effort from hundreds of mages, but once the construction was complete one would only need a single legendary mage manning it. He had already talked to a pair of legendary mages and was offering them a greater offering every three months and full access to any spoils of war in exchange for manning the place on rotation, so once everything was done even the Five-Coloured Dragon wouldn’t be able to conquer the place without an investment of time and effort.

Everything seemed to be on track, Faelor’s destiny set. Richard returned to his room and opened up his map to observe the beautiful plane quietly, taking out the doomsday imprint and starting to play with it out of habit. Every time he saw the everchanging machinery within, it reminded him that he was on a timer and all of this could be gone very soon.

The map indicated that everything was in place. There were still some territories he hadn’t conquered, but those were just minor lands with nothing worth taking. The true unknown was the city deep within the barbarian plains, a place that loosely translated to the Genesis. It was a total blank to all of Faelor, with the barbarians themselves unsure of its contents while the rest of the plane had no records of it at all. No one had ever returned after entering the place, so the name itself was just a vague interpretation.

As he stared at the location of the Genesis on the map, Richard suddenly felt a trembling deep within. A strong, steady heartbeat rang out in his mind.

The heartbeat felt ancient, primordial even, every pulse transcending the myriad planes. It felt exactly like what he had heard up in Runai’s divine kingdom, but it was much clearer and was starting to pull his mind towards it. However, it disappeared as quickly as it had come, leaving him doubting his ears for a moment. It wasn’t long before he realised that he truly hadn’t heard anything, but he felt an immense weight settling on his shoulders.

This was Intuition being activated once more, giving him an extremely vague premonition that there was something significant in the Genesis that could affect his future.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA