Book 2, Chapter 43

Visitor

By the time night fell once more, the party could see the mountain lake in the distance. Both Richard and Flowsand turned to look up at the northwest, as a meteor streaked across the night sky to plunge to the earth. It was extremely dazzling, making everything else up there look dim, and the trail it left behind didn’t dissipate for a while.

Both of them had felt a ripple in spacetime, of the same kind that had spread when they’d stepped through the portal to this plane.

A thunderous clap echoed through the tranquil night sky as the meteor landed, and with his eyes still fixated upwards Richard felt many cryptic messages coming from it. This was a bellow of rage that caused lightning to disturb the quiet, and a commoner watching this would feel like the sky itself was falling down!

Was this the wrath of the gods? Flowsand and Richard exchanged glances, before the cleric spoke up, “It seems like there’s more invaders now. I wonder where they came from.”

Richard looked at the direction the meteor had landed in, calculating the location with the help of Precision and searching for it on the regional map. The corners of his lips curled upwards, “This is good news! Now we have more time, the gods of this plane won’t be purely focused on us!”

“That might not be true, my Lord. It’s better to be safe!” Olar said in trepidation.

Richard smiled in reply, “There’s no need to worry. No matter which party is heading here, they definitely will be stronger than a party like us who were just heading for a lesser plane. The gods will definitely be more wary of them than us.”

“They’ll just be high in level,” Waterflower said icily. Her prey in the death camps were normally two to three levels above her, some even four or five.

“Isn’t that better?” Richard laughed loudly, “If that’s the case, it won’t be much longer till we get another valuable planar coordinate.”

“Normally, only primary planes can open a passage to a secondary plane. The coordinates we get might very well be to a primary plane,” Flowsand spoke her mind.

“And wouldn’t that make those coordinates all the more valuable?” Richard asked indifferently. However, those who picked out the meaning in his words would feel blood surging through their veins.

……

By the time they returned to camp, the new hostages were placed in captivity alongside Sir Kojo’s family. There were close to fifty footsoldiers now, with several novice knights in the mix.

The atmosphere in the camp had been extremely delicate. There were only two soldiers left on duty, sitting by the campfire with their weapons by their sides. There were two raptors as well, laid down somewhere in the vicinity. There were no lights coming from the tents, and it was extremely silent, but once Richard returned many flaps opened to reveal that these soldiers hadn’t slept. The strung-up atmosphere that seemed ready to break at a moment’s notice completely relaxed.

Seeing the families of the three slain titled knights and hearing of the infiltration and annihilation of the church, three of the captured knights finally chose to capitulate. This way, Richard would not pillage their lands for the time being.

Richard split the defected soldiers into three groups, with one of his knights leading each. Several of the soldiers who’d killed for him before formed the backbone, while the remainder was filled with fresh faces. This allowed for absolute control over these groups, and at the same time would greatly enhance the effectiveness of his forces. The Archeron knights weren’t just good on a personal level— they had a wealth of experience in group battle as well.

Staying by the lake for two more days, and estimating that the reinforcements from Jayleon had almost reached Forza’s lands, Richard made a surprising decision. He had all the hostages released, with two of the novice knights who hadn’t defected sending the group of women and children back. They were given two carriages for transport, while the rest could only travel by foot.

After sending the hostages away, Richard set off from the camp as well. The forces were split in two— two knights took some of the defected soldiers on horseback to search for a secret path to the Direwolf Duke’s lands, while Richard took the rest back to base. There were many materials to restock on there, and others that they would need to take later. The most valuable part of the base was the Lighthouse of Time, but sadly that was something that could not be carried away.

Richard planned to rest in the base for several days, deciphering Essien’s diary. For now, they had time to spare.

After lunch the next day, dust clouds set off on the road leading to Baron Forza’s castle. Group after group of knights advanced steadily, their bright silver armour and crimson cloaks giving them an imposing aura. Behind the knights were roughly three times as many squires, armoured soldiers who could hold their own in battle. Behind the squires were footsoldiers, most dressed in chainmail of wooden plate with various heavy weapons or giant shields on their persons. At the back were a hundred longbowmen, their enormous bows each as tall as themselves.

The army wasn’t all that large, only about 500 men strong, but its gear and aura allowed it to quash Baron Forza’s forces. Several golden-red flags were hoisted up high, showing off Earl Jayleon’s crest. These flags had been through many battles, and any enemy who saw them would feel their guts shrink.

Forza’s scouts had already informed him of the procession. The Baron stood atop his keep, using a telescope to look at the distant flags billowing in the wind. His vision remained fixed on a black flag with a crimson axe on it, his lips pursed.

“Piersage… Why is it him?” Forza muttered, feeling a throbbing pain in his head. The problems he’d had recently were already more than enough, and Baron Piersage’s arrival would add another to the list. And he didn’t know when this problem would leave.

The baron himself was at the centre of the procession, dressed in his trademark black armour. The man had an extremely thin figure, with a flaky yellow face. The short, perfectly trimmed moustache didn’t add an air of elegance to him, instead giving him a rather sinister aura. His eyes were always half-closed, as if he hadn’t slept well the night before. But he remained upright on his horse, with no unnecessary movements. That revealed the aura of someone of true power.

The group of elite troops soon reached the entrance of the castle, meeting with another caravan heading from a different direction. This one was led by two novice knights, with several tens of horse carriages behind them. Seeing the Earl’s emblem, they immediately halted in their tracks and sent their greetings to Baron Piersage, allowing his army to move ahead of them.

The doors to the castle had already been opened, and Forza came forward with several of his retainers to greet his guests. Piersage’s gaze swept past Forza’s body in an unrestrained manner, but what caught his attention was actually the horse carriages behind him. He raised his hand, and the entire procession stopped.

“Call the three of them here.” Piersage pointed at the three titled knights.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translation/TLC By: OMA

Edited By: Theo