Book 2, Chapter 42

Reaping Rewards

From Gangdor’s point of view, these useless scrolls were just scraps of papers. If they didn’t want them landing in enemy hands, their only option with only a couple dozen minutes to scour the battlefield was to burn them all. There were many valuable items in the church, and they would not be able to clean it all up and take it away. For instance, there were a lot of topaz gemstones embedded in the statue of Neian.

Essien’s sceptre was incredibly expensive as well, but the crystal used to concentrate his spells had used up all of its energy reserves to defend him from the fireballs earlier, and had already turned to ash. The sceptre itself was bent and deformed as well, but being made of gold, fine minerals, and some amount of obsidian, it would still be worth about ten thousand gold.

Richard’s time in the Deepblue had made him a grandmaster at material usage, so he naturally knew the value this fight had brought him. In the beginning stages of invading a plane, pillaging and looting were the best methods to accumulate wealth. Although such actions necessitated blood being drawn, they were undeniably the fastest route one could take.

Another special reward had been scoured from Essien’s room— a diary. Just the cover of the tome was so thick it took up half its volume, and the locks were guarded by complicated runes. If one deciphered it wrongly, the locks would immediately activate and turn the diary to ash. The intricate defensive measures alone assured that this book was not ordinary. A true, full-blown priest of a god in a foreign plane would definitely have invaluable experiences.

Richard decided to take this diary back with him. The locks were a type of spell formation, and such things would not pose any trouble to him especially when from a secondary plane. A single glance told him that deciphering would be an easy task, and the only thing he’d need to put in was time and effort. Although he didn’t understand the runes and incantations of this plane, Norland was more advanced and its own spells much more complicated. Deciphering this would not be a problem, especially since this was a very traditional spell formation with clear effects.

Furthermore, since the runes in the spell formation wouldn’t be too difficult to crack, he could take another look at them later to help him understand the laws of this plane. That way, he could buy materials and construct runes that worked with this plane’s laws perfectly.

Richard got back on his horse, looking at the castle of the Baron who would defend unto his death. He felt a tinge of pity; Baron Forza had surprisingly grown either so clever or so cowardly that he’d shut his doors, not ambushing their party on the way. They’d been waiting for such an ambush, so this left them somewhat disappointed.

However, even without the defences of the castle Forza had at least a dozen elite soldiers under him. If they fought head on, injuries would definitely not be light and death was unavoidable. This was the greatest problem Richard faced right now— he could not risk losing another member of his party. The new footsoldiers were alright, but the loss of another knight would be too huge to bear.

Even if he had a map of the Baron’s castle, fighting head on once again needed Flowsand’s energy to be restored. Outside of Richard himself, nobody on the frontlines could leave her care right now. Without Flowsand supporting behind them, they would feel that something was amiss when they charged in the forefront. However, Flowsand already consumed most of her divine energy.

A cleric of Flowsand's level was often a second life on the battlefield, the amount of support she gave comparable to Richard's sheer firepower. The only reason Richard was above her was that his situational awareness and control of the battlefield allowed him to dispatch her from his side to the right locations at critical times.

Richard looked at the garrison in the distance. It was dark all around, with no loud commotion coming from it. Had he not known beforehand that this long stretch of houses was a military camp, he would have assumed it was a settlement of commoners.

During the start of the battle, several scouts had been dispatched over to check on Richard’s party. However, with many of them shot down by Olar, no more scouts were sent. It seemed like the titled knight commanding the garrison was a smart person. If he was asked why he stopped sending scouts, the worst case scenario was being dismissed from his post. That was much better than losing his life.

Richard turned back to look at the burning church with a trace of pity in his eyes. The battle had generally gone according to plan, but the results were merely alright. Outside of the astounding wealth they’d just amassed, the rest of their results weren’t all that spectacular. Essien had escaped, and the Baron hadn’t lost any of his knights at all. As for the paladins being eradicated, that was only satisfactory and even then they’d sustained injuries. It was important to kill core members of the enemy army, which were those of high level, but that hadn’t been accomplished.

“Let’s go!” Richard let go of his regret and waved his arm, charging through the castle gates together with the cavalry.

The castle gates were wide open, and the obstacles that were removed were still in their positions. As for the corpses of the garrison troops lying in the sea of blood, nobody had cared about that. The warhorses neighed loudly as they galloped through, followed by two trolls and a group of raptors.

After riding for a while, Richard turned back and looked over. Flames were still licking the church, and from where he was he could see it engulfed by the conflagration. The smoke was thick, and it seemed impossible to put the fire out now. It was a fortunate thing that the area around the church was empty— if a fire of this scale were to spread, it could very well destroy half the city.

Richard suddenly recalled the page in his hands, faintly feeling that it was perhaps the biggest bounty of the night. Before leaving, he ordered posters to be put up all the way from the city centre to the gates. They all had the same information— telling Forza that the families of the three slain titled knights were in his hands, and he wanted a ransom of 5000 gold to set them free. If he did not provide the ransom within two days, then they would all be sold as slaves.

It was common for nobles to ask for ransom for prisoners of war. Most fights were not blood feuds, and it was rare for someone to just massacre an entire battlefield. Besides, 5000 gold coins wasn’t too much of a request, and was well within the Baron’s boundaries. However, the decree of the God of Valour ensured that Forza could never agree to such a request. Richard knew this as well, but what he wanted to do was make sure that decision was known everywhere. The death of the three knights would already show the difference in their strength.

Once they left, Richard released the raptors into the wild. He had them scout the area, preventing any chasing troops or upcoming ambush.

The party was en route to Joven, and two raptors were scouting several kilometres ahead, one on the left and the other on the right. They were already familiar with the route, and wanted to know what direction the troops in Joven were heading. If any of them turned back to help save the Baron’s land, then Richard wouldn’t mind setting up another ambush to deal with them. These common troops would be tired from the endless travel, and wouldn’t have much energy left. A blitzkrieg strategy with the raptors would end them.

Flowsand was slowly recovering her own mana, and with the vitality rune on him Richard enjoyed an even faster recovery rate. He could also feel that the several difficult battles had left him on the verge of a breakthrough. He would become a level 9 mage quite soon, able to learn grade 5 spells. His experience left him confident of victory, which was the reason he was willing to start the battle with 500 soldiers. However, the knight leading the garrison was a prudent person who holed himself up, and it seemed like he had no plans to leave until the sun was up. From the distance, one could see that the fork on the road leading to the garrison was littered with barricades.

Passing over Joven, Richard could only wryly shake his head as he looked at the camp behind him. Sieging and eliminating these reserve troops would indeed be effective, and they wouldn’t have to face any difficult battles, but since they didn’t want to move at all he was left with no choice. He could only change his route, moving back into the mountains as he prepared to digest the outcome of this battle.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translation/TLC By: OMA

Edited By: Theo