Book 8, Chapter 74

Dividing The Loot

Richard raised his head, calmly staring at the pope floating in the sky, doing nothing to stop the old man as he heaved a deep sigh and disappeared through the door of light. The distant Saint Martin was doing the same.

The moment the door of light started to fade, the corpses of the clergy started falling from the sky. The platform of light that Martin had formed remained, but the battle there quickly grew much less chaotic as the paladins lost their confidence in their cause. Only fifty or so of the holy child’s followers remained, fighting against hundreds of paladins, but with Michael’s death, the fall of the angels, and the slaughter of the cardinals, they were suddenly at the loss. Victory meant nothing anymore.

“Why aren’t you chasing?” Richard asked Martin.

“Why aren’t you?” Martin returned the question with a smile.

Neither of the two actually answered, looking back at the raging battle down below. Richard obviously wouldn’t take that fight; the pope was still unscathed and had two divine items, while he himself needed his newfound strength, the fusion of Disintegrator and Midren, the Judge, and Moonlight just to battle an epic being once. Even if he somehow won that battle, there was no telling how much energy he would expend in the process; he would then have to deal with Martin afterwards. Although he wasn’t sure how much energy the holy child had used, he looked fine for now.

Perhaps Martin felt similarly.

A few moments later, the Saint raised his voice, “Followers of the Lord, the traitor has failed. In his name and as his divine child, I command all of you to set your weapons down!”

Martin’s voice resounded through the entire battlefield. With the pope gone and Ruford dead, he was definitely the highest religious authority present. The various feudal lords promptly fell back, while the paladins laid down their arms as well. Only a few of Saint Thomas’s closest aides still continued to fight, but Richard’s knights quickly exterminated them. Seeing the losses stacking up, even they eventually let go of their weapons and knelt in submission.

The troops of the opposing sides started to retreat, and Richard’s army quickly reshuffled to form a frontline of soldiers that had experienced the least amount of battle so far. The slightly wounded ones were placed in the centre to be protected, replenishing the strength of the army immediately. On the contrary, the Sacred Tree Empire’s side was in chaos as private soldiers tried to look for their own flags, while Thomas’s right hand man gathered the surviving paladins still loyal to him and positioned them at the perimeter to guard from a surprise attacks.

The sheer difference in organisation between the Church of Glory and the nobles was painfully obvious, but despite the inferiority of both their combined strength actually dwarfed that of the Archerons. A third of Richard’s 30,000 men had been killed or maimed, and once one included lighter injuries only 17,000 soldiers were left. The combined army had lost far more soldiers at 70,000, but they still had more than 200,000 left which actually increased their numerical advantage.

The Church had actually suffered the greatest loss. Only three of the ten thousand paladins Thomas had brought along were still alive, while Richard had lost about 30 of his 200 rune knights.

Up on the divine platform, the two sides had been unified into one and the same. The air on the battlefield seemed to change at that moment, all of the clamour quieting down until even the wounded held back their cries of pain. A suffocating silence fell over them as they all stared at the two figures in the distance, with Richard and Martin just staring at each other in silence.

The power ratio on the battlefield had been altered greatly in the silence. Martin was now the leader of the Church of Glory here, with 250,000 soldiers and hundreds upon hundreds of paladins serving him. In comparison, Richard’s military might seemed paltry. Richard had been confident in taking out Saint Thomas earlier, but if a fight broke out now, he knew that he only had one choice: he had to sacrifice the wounded and his drones so his rune knights and elites could escape. Less than 3,000 would return to Azan alive.

But he didn’t give his soldiers a command to retreat, instead just standing next to the ruined Heaven’s Armour and staring at Martin with no plans to run. The Saint suddenly laughed and looked at the three Midrens around him, each stood silently with sword in hand. To the layman it would seem like they were keeping him confined to an area, but the paladins actually within those armour sets were completely paralysed and their bodies were under Richard’s control.

“It seems like you were prepared for this, Richard,” Martin smiled.

“Preparation is never a bad thing, is it?” Richard replied.

The holy child glanced at the golden armour below, “If I had power that surpassed Michael, things might have been different.”

“No one can foresee everything.”

“Indeed! So, has the war come to an end?”

“If you think it has, sure.”

“Great!” Martin rubbed his hands together in excitement, “Then it’s time to split the loot, right?”

Richard was rendered speechless by the abrupt change of attitude, but he couldn’t really refute the point. His troops were already starting to clean up the battlefield, so a division of the spoils was indeed his only task. Of course, he had Senma lead the rune knights and most of the other Archeron troops out first, leaving behind only 2,000 people to attend to the wounded. The Blood Paladin had already suffered considerable injuries fighting Saint Thomas, so she needed to be moved away.

Once a majority of his forces were gone, Richard relaxed immensely. Even an epic being wouldn’t be able to stop him from running anymore, and he still had control of the three Midrens under Martin as a blackmail chip. Martin wouldn’t even be able to touch him even if he destroyed the three rune sets and left, so the war was indeed over.

The two sides seriously started to split the loot, with the main point of contention being the five sets of Heaven’s Armour and the flaming sword that Michael had brought down from the Celestial Plane. After a round of discussion, it was decided that Martin would take the four regular sets while Richard got Michael and the sacred sword. Richard ended up making more off this exchange, so he had to restore the four angels and also hand over a simplified version of Michael that humans could wear. This would greatly reduce the power of the rune set, but the holy child didn’t mind. On top of the three existing Midrens, this would bring him to eight angels in total, each one equivalent to a sky saint. This was the strength of at least two or more legends, and much more supportive capability than that in actual war.

They also discussed the source of this entire war: the divine gold. Martin promised to hand over anything that the cardinals had stockpiled in the Church once he returned, while Richard could think of how to handle the current set. It would be a bonus if it could be retrieved, but he would have enough for his purposes regardless.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA