Just the fact that it could withstand so much damage made this page a valuable artifact, but the church had closed up to secretly perform a ritual centering around it. Whatever that ritual was, the magic had to be related to the page.
Richard snatched the page off the altar without hesitation, hastily folding it before keeping it on his person. However, when he released his grip the page bounced open and reverted to its original position, without an inkling of a mark upon it.
This page was twice the size of the pages in Flowsand’s Book of Time, and was in fact bigger and wider even than the pages of the Codex of Alucia that he’d seen in his younger days. It would be difficult to carry it around without folding it up, so Richard had no choice but to roll it up like a scroll before he could stow it away.
By the time Richard made it out of the church, the paladins were almost completely exterminated. Gangdor’s trademark roars sounded out from afar, and his hungry axe scared the paladins like insects. It was needless to say that the squires’ morale was depleted even further.
Richard glanced up, and the first thing he could see was the brute weaving through the cold and cheerless battlefield as he destroyed everything in his path. His abilities seemed to have grown since the past battles, and the sheen of his popping muscles indicated that he was using the full strength his body could muster. It was obvious that both his offensive and defensive capabilities had improved— even the heavy weapons of the paladins could only leave small superficial cuts on his body. On the other hand, each swing of his axe was so strong that nobody seemed able to withstand more than three hits.
This was Gangdor’s true might in battle. During the battle at the reconnaissance base, he’d been stuck fighting Sir Menta who was much stronger than him, and after that his enemies hadn’t been powerful enough to bring out his full strength. He hadn’t had many chances to display his skill.
The two trolls were killing machines in their own right as well. They didn’t use any special abilities, crushing their opponents’ morale with their raw strength alone. This was especially true for Medium Rare, who was dressed up in armour so strong he was like an immovable steel fort. On the other hand, the paladins hadn’t been prepared and had armed themselves hastily as they jumped out of bed. None of them had armour, while some didn’t even have weapons.
Faced with these three killing machines, the unprepared knights were massacred by the big axe and heavy hammers. It was a thorough feast of blood and meat, every movement of the big weapons letting loose chunks of bodies and big spurts of crimson.
The remaining paladins knew that outside the base was a death trap, so they retreated to camp and tried to put on their armour behind cover. However, Waterflower and Olar had already made their way over. The elven bard was not skilled at melee, but the chaos proved to be a haven for the young lady who never wore armour herself.
As for the squires, they were equally unprepared and none could face a single raptor on their own. Still, however, final victory remained difficult. The paladins were much stronger than the Baron’s army in battle, a product of their unyielding spirit even when faced with certain defeat. Even in their dying moments, they still found ways to injure their enemies one last time.
By the time the battle ended, Gangdor and Tiramisu had sustained considerable injuries. Even Waterflower had a deep wound on her thigh, and although Flowsand had been present one of the infantry was still heavily wounded. What’s more, two raptors had perished in battle.
As for the other side, including the six in the church building itself, all thirty of the paladins had died. Half of the squires had perished, while most of the rest had sustained major injuries. Only five or six had surrendered after losing the will to fight.
The battle at the camp finally ended, Flowsand cast spell after spell like they were water flowing out of her hands. They returned life to the soldiers who’d suffered grave injuries, and she also healed Waterflower’s thigh perfectly to leave no scars. Even with mana comparable to three clerics of her level, she grew pale with exhaustion after healing everyone.
Having already inspected the war zone, Richard was deeply shocked by this outcome. He was especially surprised by the tenacity of these knights and squires in desperate straits. It was quite admirable.
By his original calculations, the paladins who were around level 8-9 just posed no threat to them, even more so because it was a surprise attack and they had run out of their beds without armour. The paladins’ armour was complicated, and although its defence was exceptional it required at least half an hour to don perfectly. And the difference between a knight with his armour on and without was like night and day.
However, the final outcome of the battle differed vastly from Richard’s expectations. If not for Gangdor, Waterflower, and the trolls’ relentless pursuit of the strong knights, coupled with Flowsand’s sheer ability as a cleric, casualties would have been near unavoidable. In fact, if the raptors were taken into account there were casualties anyway.
As he looked on at the corpses on the floor by Flowsand’s side, Richard felt like there wasn’t a single paladin with his body intact. He heaved a long sigh, “This was a tough battle.”
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary, they were men of faith.” Flowsand was so weak she could not stand on her own. Leaning on Richard’s body, she nonchalantly remarked, “Those of strong faith do not feel exhaustion, do not feel pain.”
The battle at the church thus died down, and the city resumed its calm. Nothing seemed different, apart from the flames atop the church being extinguished.
Most of the people awakened by the town bell hid at home, locking their doors and windows tightly. Even if this land hadn’t been attacked in more than ten years, the news from various sources left them able to control their unwanted curiosity. The ordinary citizens hoped for reinforcements from the garrison, while the scattered soldiers hoped for reinforcements from the Baron’s elites.
However, Forza remained in his ivory tower. The bridge had been pulled up long ago, and the gates had been closed at the start of the battle. These actions clearly showed his strategy— he had no plans to attack.
All this time, hundreds of soldiers assembled at the gathered and armed themselves one by one. The titled knight in charge sat at the command building, with no plans to send them out as he kept asking them to wait for more to gather. He wanted more intelligence gathered as well, and anyone who suggested speeding up the reinforcement efforts was sent out to scout the enemy’s situation.
Some of the first parties that had set out did manage to return, but others did not. Thus, nobody brought up such suggestions again. By the time there were almost two hundred soldiers ready to move, the church’s alarms had been ringing for more than an hour. Flames started to shoot out from its direction, rapidly forming a conflagration that lit up more than half the port city and sent smoke billowing into the air.
Baron Forza stood at the very top of his castle, looking into the distance as flames engulfed the church with a volatile expression on his face.
Richard and the others had gathered at the public square in front of the church once again. This time, they had more than a dozen warhorses with them, some carrying weapons, others armour and spoils of war, all tied to their bodies.
The church had been searched in a hurry, and anything that seemed to be of value had been snatched up. Apart from the strange page, the most surprising find was fifty polished mana crystals. There were also some rubies, and magical apparatus worth nearly a hundred thousand gold coins. Flowsand especially gathered two boxes of manuals of the God of Valour, planning to start some research the next day. Lastly, there were many magic manuals that filled up three boxes.
The spells of Neian were not something that Flowsand could invoke. The labels indicated that they just had some low-level magic anyway, so nobody could understand why she would want to collect such items.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA