These people were a bunch of rabid dogs. Even with a dragon standing in front of them, they would still jump forward and try to take a bite or two first.
An older man took two steps forward, tapping the bloodstained spiky club in his hand as he spoke menacingly, “Oi kid, there’s nothing fun to watch here!”
Richard’s eyes narrowed slightly, as he pointed out two men and said lightly, “I hate those eyes. And this old fellow has clearly lived too long.”
He’d barely finished speaking when Waterflower appeared in front of the first in a flash. She stuck her two fingers in, gouging his eyes out in a flash without mercy. At the same time, the ground shook as Medium Rare rushed forward with large strides, his hammer twirling around. A dull bang echoed in the air— he’d hammered the old fellow who was brandishing his club into the wall, reducing him to a ball of flesh and blood that could barely be recognised as once human.
Looking at the bloodshed, fear finally flashed on the faces of the other three men. They turned to escape, but a bowstring resonated thrice in a row. Olar had responded to Richard’s gestured command, sending an arrow through their backs. The three men were rendered motionless, collapsing at once.
A few of the impoverished commoners nearby slowly straightened themselves. From the looks of it, they seemed to be the ones who lived in the shacks nearby. They’d paid no heed to the violence before, but the toughness of these foreigners seemed to finally stir something in them.
An old man with grizzled hair stared at Richard, saying slowly, “You have formidable power, Sir, but you should not abuse it.”
Another robust middle-aged man spoke broodingly, “This is Bowen’s territory, and we are his subordinates. He isn’t to be messed around with!” He crossed his hands over his chest as he spoke, gripping tightly to have his fingers crackle.
Richard didn’t say anything, merely pointing at the latter. Gangdor took big bounds over, landing a ruthless punch on the man’s face. The hammer-like fist distorted his figure, blood and teeth falling out of his mouth as the sturdy fellow was sent flying into the wall. He collapsed into the dark, humid, shack, not a sound to be heard from him again.
Gangdor maintained his fighting stance, grinning in a display of his pearly white teeth to everyone nearby before he gradually pulled his fists back and returned to Richard’s troops.
Richard’s piercing gaze fell on the elderly man, its intensity making him feel throbs of stabbing pain that forced him two steps back. It was only then that Richard spoke in a detached tone, “The use of power is in being able to gouge out the eyes of crazed dogs that glare at you. If any mongrel still wants to bite, I’ll kill them all.”
Richard looked at the man once more, continuing, “To me, you’re all no different from crazed dogs. The only humans are the ones hiding in their shacks.”
“As for Bowen the Lame…” Richard glanced at the middle-aged man who landed into the shack, “He’s not to be trifled with, sure, but that applies even more so to me.
“Does anyone still wish to say anything?” Richard’s gaze swept past the entire ghetto, and this time everyone subconsciously avoided his gaze without the guts to make any more comments.
Once they entered Camp Bloodstone proper, Richard chose a decent inn to settle down at that was under Stormhammer’s sphere of governance. Unlike the other regions, this place was clearly safer. The half-orcs had built this camp, which meant that under most circumstances they could firmly uphold order. And thus, the price was also correspondingly high. Even twenty gold church coins only got Richard and his party a lodging of twenty days.
Camp Bloodstone had inns, barracks, casinos, taverns, and other facilities. There were also over ten slave camps and an arena that could accommodate an audience of hundreds of people. The arena was the prime entertainment at Camp Bloodstone, and Stormhammer’s greatest source of wealth.
The ring was open when they arrived, so after dinner Richard brought everyone along to watch a match. Slaves and fighters of different backgrounds engaged in battle here, turning it into a place where those in power resolved their conflicts covertly. Richard was going so he could estimate the power of the fighters in Bloodstone.
For the price of two gold coins, he booked a compartment on the second level, surrounded by other similar viewing platforms. By the time he settled down in his seat, the entirety of the arena was almost full. Everyone in the crowd was standing, their bodies pressed against each other. The bustling noise almost threatened to tear the roof apart, but the murky atmosphere had reached its peak. Strangely enough, this mix of hormones, adrenaline, and blood in the air slowly and continuously strengthened the bloodlust in the crowd.
*Clang! Clang!* Two loud crashes echoed from the platform on Richard’s left, capturing his attention. A short yet sturdy man had thrown his crutches on the railing of the platform, using his hands to maneuver his body as he threw himself into the wide and cozy chair and let out a breath of satisfaction. The crutches were solid and sturdy, seemingly made entirely out of steel. There was a row of burly guards behind the man, and they were clearly not weak at all.
That man turned his head around and offered a brilliant smile to Richard before saying. “I am Bowen, but the people here all call me Bowen the Lame.”
“Richard. Richard Archeron.”
Bowen continued to beam and asked, “Ah, so it’s Mr. Richard. I wonder where you come from? If I am not mistaken, you should be a respected noble.”
Richard replied indifferently, “My family does have nobility, but I know my title is of no use in this land. I have no intention of using it to get anything either, my sword will get me what I want.”
“Well said!” Bowen praised and continued, “In this cursed red land, you can only use your fists and swords to fight for your say. Those nobles who arrive here thinking otherwise mostly end up as a target for robbers or foreign creatures. But your guards all look very powerful.”
“It’s not just the looks. This afternoon, they even tested their abilities out and cleared a few crazed dogs,” Richard corrected with a smile.
“Is that so, what a coincidence! I lost a few dogs myself!” Bowen responded with a laugh. A ferocious glint then flashed in his eyes, and he remarked meaningfully, “Could Mr. Richard give me an explanation for this coincidence?”
“Explanation?” Richard finally turned his head and looked straight into Bowen’s eyes, unfazed, “You sent a few crazed dogs to test my capability and power, and I hacked them to death. This should tell you enough that I’m more powerful than you, what’s there to explain about such a simple matter? Don’t tell me you’re really foolish enough to want to attack me. Try, and it won’t be as simple as your teeth being knocked out. The hyenas might not even have a chance to nibble at your bones.”
Bowen’s expression darkened slightly before he burst into loud laughter, “Mr. Richard is not tactful at all! This isn’t exactly the conduct of a respectable noble.”
Richard retorted, “You’re saying you still know the meaning of the word tactful after having lived so long in the Bloodstained Lands?”
Bowen stared blankly and pondered for a moment before nodding, “Looks like Mr. Richard will have a pleasant stay here, unlike me. Those poor fellows in the ghettos rely on me for a living. But I only lost a few dogs. I’ve heard that the Blood Scythe lost a few family pets? One of them was even taken away, I reckon he’s already enraged by now. You’re a foreigner, so you should be careful.”
Richard nodded and replied indifferently, “If he’s smart enough, he’ll know what he should and shouldn’t do.”
“Mark never seemed wise,” Bowen continued to probe.
Richard stretched a little and leaned further into the back of his chair. After he got into a comfortable position, he spoke slowly and deliberately, “They say fools die early.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hestia
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA