Book 2, Chapter 51

Trial

She had been informed that this base used to belong to the Mensas, and had been operating for more than ten years. There were over 500 soldiers stationed, controlling a ten-kilometre radius like a small town. This place was far larger than the small outpost the Archerons had given Richard, and the difference was obvious from first sight— these walls were more than ten metres tall, unlike the minuscule ones Richard had mounted a defence behind.

With another ten stable years of operations, the family could have applied to the Church of the Eternal Dragon and have the plane earmarked and numbered. If the leader of the base remained strategic, resourceful, and unscrupulous, it wouldn’t even take that long. A plane with an identity with the Church of the Eternal Dragon would have a stable passage, which meant greater volumes of resources and benefits could be drawn from it. This was another reason why the Schumpeters were so willing to invest their capital into this.

However, the base in front of Sinclair was deathly quiet, the gates half open with not a single person in sight. The silence was deafening, and surrounded by forest the base wasn’t even connected to any other location.

How could a base with more than 2000 people, 500 of them being soldiers, survive in this barren forest? Even not considering agricultural supplies they would have had to establish more than ten hamlets nearby. Sinclair didn’t think the Mensas would make a mistake of this nature, as it was common sense.

Her eyes narrowed, a strong sense of unease building up. With a wave of his hands, the leader of the bearguard knights personally led ten knights and a great mage into the base.  

Half an hour later, they walked out of the base with extremely unpleasant looks on their faces. The knight captain and the mage stood in front of Sinclair, but they were both at a loss for words.

Sinclair spoke coldly, “Speak! What is it that you can’t say? Is there a pile of dead people inside? Even so, what’s the big deal? After all, they should all belong to the Mensa Family.”

The captain finally spoke up, “My Lady, there isn’t a single person in the base. However, everything else is still present, including armour, supplies, and clothes. The only thing absent is the humans.”

The mage opened his mouth to speak, but what he said was even more depressing. “Unfortunately, none of the items are usable. The place is overflowing with the power of time, and it is impossible to purge. These are not livable conditions.”

“And what about the Lighthouse of Time?!” she screamed in question.

The captain and mage exchanged glances, and the former admitted, “It’s been extinguished…”

“EXTINGUISHED?!” Sinclair’s voice resounded through the empty base.

“Yes.” The captain braced himself for the worst.

For her part, Sinclair was dumbfounded. Everyone grew quiet in a split second, the only sound in the area being that of the wind.

“Heh… Heh… Hahahahaha!” Sinclair started with a giggle, that grew into a full-blown laughter that startled the birds on the mountain. The manic guffawing continued on for a good ten minutes before she finally calmed down. By then, her face had started to turn a peculiar shade of red, looking even more bewitching than before.

It took her some effort to catch her breath, “So we’ve reached a completely foreign plane, and can’t go back. And Norland won’t be able to reach us unless we can find a way to rekindle the Lighthouse of Time… You guys need to make a decision now. Are you ready to tough it out with me?”

The captain and two mages glanced at each other, before agreeing to stick by Sinclair and vowing to listen to her every instruction. Even if they’d been unwilling they would have had no choice. There were only two ways to conquer a plane— occupy it all, becoming an enemy of every creature of the plane in the process, or infiltrate society and gain allies. Both were comparable in terms of danger and difficulty, but the second would cause one’s standing in their home plane to fall.

Either way, the captain and mages only knew combat, not politics and strategy. Even if this plane was limited to level 18, leaving Norland’s protection meant they wouldn’t be able to hold on very long themselves. And given Sinclair’s personality, if they didn’t declare loyalty she would likely have them killed anyway.

Sinclair faked a smile and eyeballed the expressions on the three faces in front of her. She then said, “Smart move. Anyway, you lot have a bit of good luck. Don’t you feel anything yet?”

The two great mages tried to extend their senses and analyse the situation, but could only get a hint of what was going on. They couldn’t pinpoint this good luck Sinclair was talking about. As for the captain, the powers of space and time were not his domain. He decided not to waste his efforts.

Seeing all three of them baffled, Sinclair flashed a sinister smile before sticking out her bright red tongue and licking her lips, “The timeflow of this plane is anywhere between an eighth and a tenth of Norland’s. That means it has been blessed by the Eternal Dragon! When we take this plane and return home, we’ll leave the old fogeys with an unforgettable impression! I can’t wait to find out how their hearts will taste!”

She patted the neck of the manticore, causing the humongous creature to stand upright as it abruptly let out an earth-shaking roar.

“All of you, come with me! Let’s find a place to rest tonight. Better still if there’s young and beautiful men and women!” The manticore leapt over the knights in the midst of her speech, being the first to race down the mountain.

……

Back in a church in the Whiterock Duchy, Essien was kneeling inside a room as he spoke of the invasion of Baron Forza’s lands. Although the place wasn’t big, there was a tall platform to one side with three elderly priests behind it. From their dense divine powers to the glow of their skin, it was evident that they were higher in rank than Essien himself. And from the looks of things, it looked like Essien was on trial.

And he was on trial indeed. The Church of Valour in Forza’s territory had been torn to shreds, and the page from the Book of Holding which was held in high regard by the God of Valour had sadly been destroyed. Furthermore, all of the clerics and paladins of the church had been killed. Any one of these charges was sufficient for Essien to be served a cup of poisoned wine.

However, Essien’s voice still resounded through the hall. Once he was done explaining the situation, he didn’t try to defend or clear his name, instead sincerely asking for the church to send out a troop of battle priests along with an army of paladins supported by elites to eliminate the invaders. He even asked for the elite mountain troops of the Whiterock Duchy!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Nugget

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA