Book 2, Chapter 115

Escorted Into Battle(3)

The final battle occurred at a seaside harbour near the Fjord of Longing. With nowhere to run, the Schumpeters gathered all their remaining troops and began a desperate, bloody battle with the demons and devils. With the three powerhouses on the invading side competing with their own, the battle ended with no winner. The demons and devils had only a hundred or so warriors left, of which a dozen had successfully levelled up. More than half of the Schumpeters’ army was wiped out, with the rest retreating into the harbour and preparing to defend the city to their deaths.

The Schumpeter Family still had a few garrisons in other territories awaiting orders, and the core of the family in Faust had been locked in heated debate for a while whether they should reinforce, yet to come to a decision. However, the war came to a screeching halt as the three lords who had completed their tasks took those who had advanced and returned to their own planes. Those that were abandoned would continue fleeing within Norland, soon to be completely exterminated.

Gaton watched as the two parties disappeared into portals from a few kilometres away, only then waving his arm to have his subordinates turn around and return to the family’s lands.

At the harbour, Marquess Riain was watching the scene from atop the tallest watch tower, laughing miserably as he huffed out a long breath. Those at his side all heaved a sigh of relief when they saw Gaton leave; their fear of the Archerons exceeded their fear of the devils and demons.

Although he hadn’t yet made a move, Gaton decided to go back anyway. The Schumpeters here had been thoroughly destroyed, and he could follow up with legal ways more conveniently as he eroded their power. Were he to attack them now, he would be condemned by almost all of human nobility. Watching on without lifting a finger to help was one matter, but taking advantage of this situation would cross a bottom line. It would give an excuse for the Schumpeter Family’s allies to intervene.

Even the Schumpeters knew that, but who could be sure when it came to the Archerons? The entire family was known for their lunacy, and every move of theirs was unpredictable.

At that moment, a young man from a branch family asked with puzzlement, “What did those damned Archerons want if they weren’t going to fight us or the invaders? Were they just here to have a look at the fjord?”

Nobody could answer his doubts, but these words were like thunder as they rang in Riain’s ears! “DAMN IT!” the old man cried out involuntarily, “Dragon Mage Lina was in that team! The Archerons know the coordinates of our family planes!”

The moment he finished speaking, the marquess spat out a mouthful of blood and turned pale, falling backwards. His servants hurried to grab ahold of him, but still gasping he didn’t waste any time as he grabbed one of them, yelling, “Quick, prepare a griffin! I need to go to Faust right away, hurry!”

An hour later, the griffin had finally been prepared. The feeble marquess disregarded the advice of the people around him, stubbornly mounting the creature. However, at that very moment clear and melodious griffin-calls rang out in the sky as more than a dozen flew past. They had come from the direction of the Archeron lands, their destination obviously being Faust.

The marquess swayed as he felt the world going dark before his eyes, blood seeping out of the corner of his lips once more. A moment later, three griffins of their own took off from the harbour and headed for Faust as well.

In this peculiar invasion that had lasted longer than a week, more than half of the Fjord of Longing had been destroyed. The fields the devils and demons had walked through were polluted by the aura of hell and the abyss, and wouldn’t have normal yields for years. It would take several months for the collapsed mines to start production as well.

Over the continuous battles, nearly four thousand soldiers had met their end, alongside fifteen of their rune knights. Not even twenty bearguard knights were left as well, marking the Schumpeters’ fall from an exalted noble family to a second class one. It was obvious they would be forced out of their island in Faust.

However, the worst loss was the coordinates of their planes being leaked when they’d built those portals. Henceforth, the Archerons could assault their planes at any point in time. The Schumpeters would have no choice but to station massive forces on their planes, but even then their current weakness meant that going against the rabid Archerons would be an impossible task. The only thing Riain could hope for was stopping the Archerons on the battlefield of politics.

However, would that even work? Politics without the military power to back it up was like cheese baked until it went soft. People would be able to cut them apart however they liked.

……

At that moment, in a remote plane by the name of Faelor, Richard had no idea of the incidents back home. He was deep asleep, covered snugly with a blanket.

They had crossed into the desert, the sandy earth now uneven. The blazing sun turned the place into a world of fire during day, and at night it grew so chilly the cold would seep into one’s bones. There was practically no signs of life across the land except for a few cacti growing stubbornly in the shade of some sand dunes.

That night, they were camped under a rocky peak that had caved in, shielding them from the biting cold winds. However, there were no tents set up. Hundreds of people slept in their normal clothes on, or covered themselves with blankets.

The past few days were full of fighting and fleeing. At least four or five slaving groups totalling hundreds of people had been waiting nearby, hoping for the chance to deal him a fatal blow. These hunters were mainly from Red Cossack, although there were some smaller merchant groups, horse bandits, and mercenaries as well.

They were like wolves in a field, coming and going like the wind. Battles could start at any point, so they had no time to set up camp at all. The past few nights they were all resting in their clothes and armour, ready to get up and battle at a moment’s notice.

Nights were chilly and very quiet. Far in the distance one could hear the sounds of the two trolls snoring, but strangely enough it gave one a sense of security. The cold left Richard snuggling further into his blanket, only to feel waves of comfortable warmth. That was Flowsand, pressed closely into him. Only in her dreams would she reveal her more fragile side, reminding people that this was a young girl who wasn’t yet eighteen.

Cold, clear moonlight shone on this small, temporary camp. Richard and Flowsand were naturally at the centre of the circle, ringed by Gangdor and the knights from Norland. Next were the barbarians, orcs, and the kind, with the trolls squeezed in between. The trolls snored quite loudly, and only the barbarians and the orcs who had the same tendencies could tolerate it. At the outermost circle were hundreds of desert warriors. Their long robes functioned as natural blankets, and no matter how rough the ground was they could fall asleep once they laid down.

At the peak of the rock formation, Olar was sitting around bored. His ability to see in low light helped him scan over the surroundings, his bow in hand. As long as there was any sign of malicious intent, an arrow would fly out immediately. This was a great location, allowing him to monitor everything in his line of sight.

The elf wasn’t the only one on vigil, though. He was accompanied by Waterflower, but he couldn’t see where she was and only assumed that she was hidden off somewhere in the curtain of the night.

A few wind wolves randomly wandered around the outermost edges. They made for excellent sentinels. Even if the most terrifying of assassins appeared and killed them in an instant, the deaths alone would send alarm bells ringing in Richard’s consciousness.

The past few days had been an entirely new experience. Every day the battled and fled without rest, sleeping as much as they could at night to recover their stamina. Food and water became extremely valuable, and they had no place to shower. Being filthy had grown normal, leaving nobody caring about their appearance. All unnecessary materials were abandoned, leaving behind only the most precious magic materials and scrolls.

Even as a mage who was commanding the army, Richard was getting injured a lot more recently, proof of how intense the battles got. He had learnt how to receive injuries properly on an elementary level, turning life-threatening attacks into mere light cuts.

At the end of every battle, he was completely worn out. Not only did he have to direct the battle, he also needed to judge when best he could use his spells. He had to keep note of dozens of targets even in the smaller fights, so even with his digital vision and blessing of wisdom he was being taxed greatly. All he wanted whenever the enemies retreated was to collapse and sleep.

This was when the importance of the vitality rune began to show itself. With the continuous cycle of fleeing, battling, and fleeing again, in a situation where he didn’t have mana potions to use, the ability to quickly restore his strength became an important factor.

At this point, Richard had to admit that there were some amazing people amongst Red Cossack. The armies were like a pack of wolves, circling their prey and taking a bite at every opportunity. The moment he showed an opening they leapt forward and tore off flesh, leaving a dripping wound behind with every attack. Whether the attack succeeded or not, these attackers immediately retreated. They never kept up the fight.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA