Book 2, Chapter 20

Responsibility

Cleaning up the battlefield was an arduous task. The knights dragged the corpses out of the base, collecting their amour. Richard started to question the prisoners about the geography, religion, and customs of the region. He even asked them about the idiosyncrasies of the baron, writing page after page of notes from interrogation to interrogation.

It was almost dusk by the time the place was cleaned up. Hundreds of bodies were piled up outside, while the smell of food wafted within. Flowsand awoke from her meditation, walking into the pub to see Richard still interrogating a warrior. There was a large stack of records on the table.

Despite his visible exhaustion, Richard’s eyes were alert. His writing remained neat and tidy, the fatigue not affecting them at all.

She sat down next to him, saying seriously, “You need rest. A mage without mana is inferior to even a common warrior.”

Richard looked up at the sky and replied, “There’s only two more left, I’ll eat once I’m done.” He patted the stack before continuing, “This information is more important than my mana reserves. We know nothing about this plane, and have no idea what to expect. I have to draft a quick outline to aid us in our future decisions.

“A third of Forza’s elites have been eliminated, with three out of his five subordinate knights losing their lives. I don’t think they’ll be able to attack us in the near future. They only have the manpower and resources to guard the core of their territory, so I have more than enough time to recuperate.”

Richard sighed at that moment, “Tch, I just realised I made a grave mistake. We should have chased the runners down and taken Osfa. The knights’ horses were there, at least a few dozen. That would’ve been a great advantage, a huge fortune! But now, those guys will definitely have taken all the horses away.”

“Richard. It’s impossible to not make any mistakes at all. Your performance in this battle was on par with an outstanding general. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re barely sixteen.” Flowsand might look rather emotionless, but her words were laced with concern.

Richard ruffled his hair and smiled bitterly, “We’re in a plane we’re unfamiliar with, facing strong enemies we’ve never encountered before. The gods of this plane already sent an oracle down predicting our arrival, and us? We don’t even know how we got here, and have nothing outside of basic resources. Our advance troops were lost in that time rift you mentioned, and three of our veterans died the moment we stepped through the portal. We don’t even know if we can rally the locals to our aid in battle. We have no room for mistakes!”

Flowsand put her hand on Richard’s to comfort him, “You have to calm down. You can’t stress yourself like that, you are our leader. And that is not something I’m just saying. You have the greatest power amongst us, and you’re a runemaster on top. You also have the blessing of the Eternal Dragon himself. The broodmother and I are the greatest proof of that, no?

“As for the oracle from the god of valour, it should only have predicted the position of our portal from the spacetime fluctuations it caused. It’s unlikely for him to know our next plans. If their god really was that powerful, Kojo wouldn’t have been the only one waiting for us.

“You should also remember this: if anything happens to you, none of those contracted to you will survive.”

“That seems to be a large responsibility,” Richard sighed dejectedly, but Flowsand looked him in the eye, “But it was your choice. Wasn’t it?”

Richard nodded, a smile finally returning to his sullen face. “I know what to do now. We have enough resources for me to make a total of four runes. I’ll create a mana amplification rune for you later, it’s the only one that can suit you given our current ingredients.”

“Alright, but I’ll have to take care of the bodies first. Send two knights and ten of the prisoners with me.”

Richard agreed, calling two knights over and picking ten prisoners to help Flowsand. He’d already interrogated most of them by then, and given his extraordinary memory he knew what state they were all in. He’d picked only normal warriors, and even if their injuries were light they were all quite meek in nature.

Gangdor came in just as Richard finished assigning the men to their jobs, calling out barbarically, “Master, dinner time! Anything else can be dealt with after we’ve eaten!”

The aroma that hit Richard’s nostrils brought a near-instant hunger with it. Still, Richard managed to wait until he finished the last interrogation before walking towards a temporary kitchen with Gangdor.

The smell of food filled the entire floor. Three knights, Waterflower, and Olar were all sitting around the dinner table, each with a big bowl before them devouring everything within. Richard saw Tiramisu alone in the kitchen, stirring a pot with all his strength. It seemed like this food that everyone was in love with came from him.

Gangdor brought a bowl over for Richard as well, saying, “Master, I can’t believe your ogres are such good cooks! Their meat stew is so much better than the ones at camp.”

Olar scoffed at the side, “I’ve had my fair share of meat stew in the past, what’s the big deal? Still, this one is truly well-cooked.”

Olar had worked for a handful of royal families before, so he naturally had a good taste for food. For even the elf to acknowledge it meant the food had to be good.

Just then, the ogre that was busy in the kitchen shouted in Gangdor’s direction, “Hey shorty! I have a name, don’t call me ‘ogre!’”

“Ah, my bad!” Gangdor raised his arms in surrender, “Alright, Medium Rare.”

But then, Medium Rare roared from the outside, “THAT’S ME! He’s Tiramisu, shorty!”

The bigger ogre peeked into the restaurant, glaring at Gangdor as if he was about to attack the man. Richard quickly stood up to stop things from escalating, “Alright, Gangdor didn’t—”

However, when he turned to see Gangdor’s sneaky face, he was forced into an awkward silence. He wanted to say Gangdor didn’t mean it, but this fellow had done it on purpose!

Gangdor laughed loudly at the scene before him. “Right, I did it on purpose. I’ll call you by your names, but you can’t call me shorty!”

“Deal!” Tiramisu and Medium Rare echoed.

Richard shook his head and sat down, all ready to dig in. He tried a spoonful of the stew— it was indeed delicious, cooked to utter perfection. This was better than anything that the Archeron chefs had ever cooked, only slightly behind the chefs of the Deepblue itself.

“This is really good!” Richard complimented.

“Of course!” the two ogres answered proudly, “We are gourmets!”

…… 

Halfway through the meal, Richard stopped abruptly. This attracted Waterflower’s attention while Gangdor asked, “Are you alright, Master?”

Richard quickly reverted to his normal self. “I’m fine, eat up!” he said, continuing to finish his food.

He’d just felt a worrying decrease in the broodmother’s power, but that had gone back up just as fast so he was relieved.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA