Book 2, Chapter 48

Coincidence

Richard marked a new spot on his map, indicating the projected location of the other invaders. Although he did not know which plane they had come from, they definitely were not friendly forces. It was more dangerous to join forces with another invader during a war than to ally with the natives themselves.

Having deduced several possible paths to take, Richard fell into a bout of hesitation. No matter what, they had to forfeit their base. This position had been exposed far too long ago, and staying would bring a risk of death.

However, they’d only returned to pack supplies, confusing their opponents while they stalled for time. Richard’s hesitation was not for that— he was wondering whether they should remain in Forza’s lands for a longer period of time. If he could deal a heavy blow to Jayleon’s reinforcements, then the Baron’s lands would have their doors wide open to give him anything he wanted. The castle definitely wouldn’t be able to stop him and his ferocious party.

But there was great risk in staying, the sort of risk that arose if one stayed in position too long in guerilla warfare. The opponents would figure out the threat of his forces, analysing and predicting their movements. After all, he was just an intruder in Faelor. Even if he came from a stronger plane with a better path to power, he had no allies.

Right now, the most important thing to do was to determine the strength of the troops coming to aid Forza. He took out another map, one that marked the factions and powers in the Whiterock Duchy. Under the Whiterock Duke himself were a marquess, three greater earls, two lesser ones, and over fifty barons. Jayleon himself had a viscount, four barons, a powerful knight, and two great mages under him.

And when Richard saw information on Piersage, his eyes slightly constricted. Baron Piersage was similar to Sir Menta; they were both powerful individuals who could also lead armies. Piersage was a famed general in the entire duchy, and if he was the one leading the reinforcements they would be impossible to defeat in one fell swoop.

Richard’s army definitely put him at a disadvantage. Even if regular soldiers were taken out of the equation, Piersage was sure to have his own core elites. A fight with the baron would only end in a bitter victory that took out part of his army, unless he could find a suitable battleground and divide the man’s forces. However, the probability of such a thing happening was far too low. Piersage was a much better leader than Forza, which meant that Richard lost his edge both in elites and in leadership.

Richard heaved a sigh of relief, dismissing the idea of taking out Forza’s castle. The amount of wealth the baron would have accumulated was tempting, but no matter how he thought it over he didn’t have much of a chance against the reinforcements. If Piersage really was the one leading them, he would have no chance at all.

He thus picked up his map and began to look at routes going to the northwest, tracing many such routes with his fingers. He followed the intersection between the Land of Turmoil and the Direwolf Duke’s Sequoia Kingdom, before entering the desolate yet chaotic Bloodstained Lands.

The Bloodstained Lands were an area where humans, barbarians, and the desert people mingled. There were patches of both barren and fertile land, with the terrain being quite hilly. There was a constant shortage of food, making it a den of thieves, criminals, and murderers that was a nightmare for the common man. Many criminal ringleaders and slave traders operated out of the place, treating all creatures as prey like hyenas.

The place was chaotic and dyed in blood, but it suited Richard’s current needs. As for Forza’s lands, the seed had already been planted. He could harvest it whenever he was ready, and that time wasn’t necessarily too distant.

……

Richard did not know that an extremely intense battle had occurred nearby. It was where he’d marked the other invaders to arrive, a fair distance off his travel route.

Tens of kilometres away from the Bloodstained Lands, a towering, strange portal stood tall as it flashed with vibrant light. Gravity was warped, many small objects floating in mid-air while others sank deep into the earth. Many images flashed in the rift formed by the portal, looking like several magical beasts. However, when these images contorted and disappeared, they turned out to be mere illusions.

The portal was so massive the spacetime around it was warped. Black rifts were floating around everywhere, extremely dangerous tears in the fabric of space that could even cut a saint warrior from Norland in half.

The portal expanded and contracted as several knights in heavy black armour leapt out. Each of them was of large build, looking extremely malevolent. Even the horses that they rode were very strange, as all of their bodies were black. Their fur was long and thick, with two canines on the side of their jaws.

The surroundings of the portal were not peaceful at all, instead a vicious battlefield filled with shouts and slashes. Native warriors and paladins had already surrounded the portal, doing their best to destroy the black knights that were here to invade them. Behind the warriors were tens of priests and clerics, casting spells incessantly as their hands glowed with divine light, buffing the warriors under them.

The buffs were equivalent to an extra level for these warriors, and they roared praises for their priests and hurled curses at the enemies. Even if the opponent plunged two swords into their bodies and they could feel the cold of the blades piercing their organs, they still wielded their weapons against these black knights. Everything would be worth it as long as they could injure these opponents in the slightest.

They were brave unto death, and coupled with their sheer numbers their valour had great effect. The black knights were forced down from their horses, slain by a surging swarm of warriors. However, every death of a knight also made for ten losses on their side, and those warhorses were extremely brutal as well. Even without their owners they ran free, trampling and charging down the battlefield if their owner was not dead. Their hooves and sharp teeth were fatal weapons, and one of them even ripped off an opponent’s head and started to eat it in the middle of the battle!

Such a terrifying sight scared the cowards, but the greater number were thoroughly enraged. A paladin howled loudly as he crashed into the warhorse’s flank, plunging his sword deep into its heart. The black warhorses had a coat of extremely thick fur that could rival a direbear’s defence, but the undaunted all-out attack was something that fur could not prevent. The warhorse neighed loudly like a savage beast, even as a dozen more weapons buried themselves into its body. Most only made about a dozen centimetres in, but some managed to get to its insides.

The clobbered warhorse writhed, using its last dregs of strength as it moved forward and chomped down on a paladin. The creature’s jaws had frightening power, disfiguring the knight’s armour and smashing half the breastplate and a pauldron to smithereens as he wailed in agony.

Even as each warrior gave their lives to the cause, the black knights were unbreakable like a reef in a current. They surged out of the portal endlessly, their front lines spreading wide to form a defensive line. As time passed, this line began to push forward.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translation/TLC By: OMA

Edited By: Theo