Richard was sitting under the shade of a stone cliff in a withered stone forest, recuperating with his eyes closed. His mana was being restored bit by bit, but right now he was only half full. As for the other two mages, both Tiramisu and Zendrall were only at a third of capacity. Even more worrisome was that Flowsand was only left with a third of her own power. Half of her scrolls had been used up, leaving her with less than thirty on hand. Many of those were still blank, yet to be scribed.
Even the desert warriors who were normally known for their endurance and stamina had started to show signs of fatigue. Many of them had fallen to the ground, entering deep sleep. Quite a few of the barbarians were wounded as well, but Flowsand didn’t have the energy to care about flesh wounds. Only fifteen of the half-orc warriors were left standing.
All but nine of Richard’s wind wolves had perished. These spawns of the broodmother were ten times as important as any other level 7 underling; their link to his mind was the sole reason Richard could control several hundred people like his own arms.
At this point, the capabilities of the troops had entered an all time low. Richard had ordered all of his party to burst forth with full strength in the most recent battle, resulting in a swift decimation of the opposing forces that left more than a hundred of the five hundred bandits dead. The opponents hadn’t been able to mount a good defense, eventually dispersing in confusion.
This was an outcome that Richard had chosen. After the long tug of war, he could roughly predict where the familiar groups would be stationed. He sent his wind wolves out to determine their position, decisively pulling his entire army east and pouncing on the bandits who were only supposed to fight them two rounds later.
Given Red Cossack’s encirclement, it was extremely risky to take the initiative to attack you. Another group of well-prepared forces was always nearby, getting ready for the next ambush. If the blitzkrieg was met with a stalemate, Richard would have been pincered from two ends.
Fortunately, the battle had developed in his favour. His contracted party had fought without reservation, achieving far greater results than expected. The rest of his men abandoned all other pursuits, focusing on changing their direction. Even though this had left them at their weakest point, Richard was sure the enemies weren’t much better off.
He opened his eyes, silently estimating the time that had passed as he stood up with the support of the rock behind him. His entire body was stiff, the six unhealed wounds on his back and shoulders still aching dully. One wouldn’t even know the original colour of his robe anymore; it had hardened up like leather and grown red. Sweat and blood had blended with the characteristic red soil of the Bloodstained Lands, soil that had acquired its colour as blood constantly seeped into the ground and dried up.
Richard’s mouth was filled with an unpleasant taste. He spat out two clumps of sand, the horse blood still churning in his gut making him feel like he was burning up from within. He felt the constant urge to clear his stomach of its contents.
He chose to ignore that need, combing his hair as he inhaled deeply. The vitality rune was slowly replenishing his strength and mana, allowing him to force his eyes open and flash a refreshed grin. He then made his way to the soldiers who were sprawled on the ground everywhere, barking loudly, “All of you, wake up! Get ready for battle! Let’s show those bastards who are chasing us what we’re made of!”
Hearing his loud call, many of the soldiers immediately got up and grabbed their weapons, preparing for war. The continuous battles had elevated his status in their hearts, making him a divine existence. They instinctively followed his every command.
Although the mere half hour of rest was not enough, they still clambered up as fast as they could, rushing to the wind wolves in charge of them. A few were simply too tired and deep in slumber, but a few kicks got them on their feet.
A few minutes later, the entire army hid itself within the forest. Sand started blowing in from the horizon not long after, as a troop of horse bandits came bounding towards Richard while following the trail. This was about as expected, making Richard pleased with the increased calculative ability from his blessing growing. His grasp of the situation was now stronger than ever before.
Light was just starting to leak into the sky. The very fact that these soldiers could accurately follow his trail in the dim morning light told Richard that their leader was quite skilled.
There weren’t many soldiers in this group, only 200 or so. They looked like they were newly formed, with a foreign flag and outfits, but Richard could clearly feel that some of the desert warriors and barbarians were starting to feel a little shaken. There was a mix of fear and strong hatred on their faces.
That reaction told Richard that this group consisted mostly of slavers. With that in mind, he started to plan the engagement in his head…
As they were nearing the stone forest, the leader of the slavers suddenly stopped his horse. Many years of battle had sharpened his intuition, and he could feel extreme danger coming from the stone forest ahead.
However, the moment he stopped his horse a sharp arrow from the darkness shot straight for his heart. The shot was extremely crafty and dangerous, leaving the leader with no time to respond. He reined his horse in immediately, causing it to stand and take the shot for its master. Suddenly, the slaver saw a young girl dressed in white float past him from at the corner of his sight. Startled by the inexplicable sight, he looked around to search for her, but she had disappeared.
The leader suddenly felt a slight chill run down his back, quickly extending to the rest of his body. All energy seemed to drain out of him in the next moment, and he blacked out and fell from his horse.
Seeing the opposing commander brutally murdered. Richard promptly started commanding the wind wolves and knights to charge out from within the forest and counter the attack. A mass slow from him and a fear spell from Zendrall impacted the enemy cavalry moments before the melee, leaving at least thirty of them in turmoil.
“They have a mage!” one of Richard’s knights shouted. Some people on the enemy side tried to warn their mage of the danger, but the man had only just started on a spell before he was beheaded by Waterflower who had appeared out of the blue. The mage’s four guards ended up being completely useless.
The two armies clashed violently. The chaotic battlefield was like a chessboard in front of Richard’s eyes, every piece under his control. The movements of his pieces allowed him to even influence the opponent.
As with the last battle, this one was short yet intense. The slavers. Although individually powerful, had met with an ambush that killed their commander early into the battle. They immediately went into retreat, quickly leaving a hundred corpses behind as they escaped. Richard himself hadn’t been able to escape injury, with ten of his men laid to eternal rest in this forest. Yet, he couldn’t afford to care. They cleaned up the battlefield in a mere ten minutes before he took his troops and sped north.
This was tens of kilometres away from his original route. Even if the enemies had an ambush up north, Richard believed they couldn’t move over in time.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Nugget
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA