Book 2, Chapter 104

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It took two days and two nights for Sinclair to finally come out of that hall that reeked of blood and other liquids, finally done with her revelry. Black flames lit up all over her body, burning away all the filth covering it. This was soulfire, containing far greater power than one could imagine. And judging by the number of dead bodies lying back in the hall, it was needless to say what fuelled these flames. Soulfire was normally colourless, but with how tainted Sinclair was these flames were a depthless black.

As Sinclair was putting on her clothes and wearing her armour once more, the two mages who had completed their tasks stood at the side. They did not avoid the sight of her seductive body, but they kept their behaviour in check and didn’t gaze at her with intent either.

One of them opened up a map, “We obtained many maps from this raid. I’ve already marked out important places in the Bloodstained Lands, please have a look.”

Sinclair grunted in agreement. She scanned the map, pointing out a spot that was marked as an oasis, “It looks like there are a lot of people here, let’s head there next. How many fighters can we assemble?”

“According to our preliminary estimations, there are about 500 people qualified to be soldiers,” the other mage replied.

Sinclair nodded, “Give them a weapon each, and a set of armour. Hmm… no, half a set will be enough, and have them follow. Ah wait, 500 is too few, give anyone who can walk a weapon, we head out tomorrow morning to conquer a new oasis! They’ll be first in line.” 

The two mages exchanged looks, and one of them spoke up, “If we keep doing things like that, my Lady, we’ll soon become the enemies of the entire plane.”

“Haha! Are you saying that you’re here in this plane to make friends?” Sinclair asked sarcastically.

“That’s not what I meant, my Lady! This plane isn’t the one we intended to visit, and those amongst its ranks are very powerful. Its rumoured that there are even legendary beings here, though we cannot verify that.

“We’ve come to know that this plane has far more gods than we originally intended for. If we get caught by the powerhouses of the plane…” The mage didn’t complete his sentence, but the message was clear.

The rich and powerful families of Norland, the ones with floating islands to their name, all had legendary beings amongst their ranks that formed a deterrent to anyone else aiming to attack them. But this was a different plane, not Norland. Should a legendary being appear here, everyone would be dead.

“Legendary powerhouses? At level 18? Bah, that’s just like their saints. They boast about such meagre, power, I don’t know where they learned to call themselves that,” Sinclair said mockingly, as if it wasn’t a problem at all.

The other mage tried convincing her as well, “My Lady, our original aim was to get rid of Richard. Now that we’ve come to an unfamiliar plane, we can put that aside. This is a mature plane that is abundant in resources, quite similar to Norland as well. Our role now is to be pioneers; as long as we return safely to Norland and give them the coordinates of this plane, it will be a huge achievement. The Schumpeters’ strength will be boosted greatly in the next ten or so years, and your status will eventually rise with that. It isn’t our business to get rid of the powerhouses of this plane… We should let the family’s rune knights take care of that.”

Sinclair grunted, gloom clouding her face, “So you’re saying I should let Sisley finish conquering this place?”

The mage’s body trembled, and he immediately replied, “Even if she does, my Lady, your contributions will far exceed hers. Discovering a new plane is the most important thing. Also, if she does a poor job of it she’ll have no recourse.”

Sinclair understood that everything the mage said was true. Her expression grew less menacing, but her finger stubbornly remained pointed at the oasis on the map, “This place looks interesting. We’ll follow the original plan and set out tomorrow, we’re taking this place down!”

The other mage contemplated for a while, eventually deciding to speak up, “Your highness, that oasis is comparable to this one. If we start a war, we’ll need to deploy the bearguard knights. There aren’t many knights under your control right now, and we don’t have any clerics. Please… Think it over the soonest possible!”

Sinclair waved her hand impatiently, retorting, “Enough! I already know! Only a few of them died, what’s the big deal anyway? It wasn’t easy to get away from those old rascals, of course I’ll have to celebrate and enjoy myself! After all, the more people I kill the stronger my baby becomes. Don’t take the people of this plane too seriously, they’re all barbarians. They’ve never even heard of runes, what kind of power can they even have? I just killed someone who called themselves a saint, and he was only level 16. Stop talking so much, I know what’s going on. Once there’s less than 40 left I’ll get serious.”

The two mages were rendered helpless, left with no choice but to return to what they were doing prior to the discussion.

……

Towards the south of the path Sinclair intended to take, Richard was leading his own troops north. They had already entered the northern parts of the Bloodstained Lands.

At nightfall, they chose a place sheltered from the wind to set up camp and rest. Richard took out his map, thinking things over under the magic light. There were two paths marked on the map: the one he was taking and the one tracing the Schumpeters’ path.

He followed the traces of the bearguard knights, extending from north to south as he circled some key regions to search. The bearguard knights were quite distinctive— their horses crushed rocks under their hooves, so even with more than ten days having passed it was possible to find traces of their presence. He extended the currently known route towards the south, winding up near Twilight Oasis. Even further south were Saak Oasis and Saltwater Valley, both occupied by a mix of different races.

Towards the north, he had already found three areas that had been destroyed by the bearguard knights as well as the remnants of a caravan. The Schumpeters hadn’t left a single soul alive, with traces of mass murder in inhabited regions. There were five dead knights on their path, allowing Richard to recover seven more runes. The rest of the runes were either destroyed in battle or rotted beyond recognition alongside their owners.

He took a look at the southern path, understanding that the three inhabited places there wouldn’t be lucky enough to escape their faite. However, Twilight Oasis and Saak Oasis both were rather strong, with powerful saints watching over them. Even if this plane’s saints were two levels lower than in Norland, the bearguard knights wouldn’t be able to take the oases without a fight. The more these bearguard knights were weakened, the safer Richard would become. He was more worried about these killers from Norland than the military forces of this plane.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Nugget

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA