A Necessary Enemy
Once they were done escorting Asadis, Richard parted with the viscount and continued advancing southeast.
“What do we do now?” Flowsand asked. She was always close to him, so she had heard everything.
Richard let out a long sigh, “We need to change our plans. If Sinclair is the leader of the enemy troops, we don’t have the capability to fight them off. She’s already close to Bluewater, so she’ll definitely learn of my existence. So… we have to take some risks!”
“What do you intend to do?” Flowsand asked.
Richard gently tapped the saddle, pondering for a while before he answered, “I want to meet our lord, the Direwolf Duke.”
At that moment, the sound of hurried horses started to make its way over to them. A group of twenty or so knights could be seen on the horizon.
They were undoubtedly the personal guard of a noble who had pulled back from the frontline. Regardless of age and level, all of them were good at riding and had sharp foresight, being able to escape the demonic clutches of Sinclair. Of course, from another point of view they could also be considered deserters who abandoned their comrades just before battle.
Richard had already gathered enough information, and had started initial talks with Asadis about a trade agreement. As such, he wasn’t interested in the latest developments on the frontline anymore. Since that was the case, he didn’t ask his subordinates to intercept.
However, the oncoming group made an abrupt turn and made a beeline towards them of their own volition. Without a need for his instructions, his subordinates who had experienced innumerable bloody battles immediately assumed battle formation. The mages and cleric were protected in the centre, while the knights formed the wings in preparation for attack. Since Richard hadn’t given an order to stop, they had done all this while on the move.
The opposing group had no more than twenty men, and there didn’t seem to be anyone exceptional amongst them. One attack, and they would all be wiped out. Having fought Salwyn’s troops who used pack tactics to assault them, Richard’s own subordinates were unintimidated by the sudden attack of such a small group.
The knights who were in a perfectly straight formation only started to rein in their horses when they were a mere ten horses away. The stones kicked up by their mounts even managed to hit the barbarian warriors at the very front.
Richard frowned, waving his hand. The entire army came to a neat stop.
The barbarian warriors were now armed with axe and shield. The stronger warriors who were gifted at battle even had a weapon in each hand. They all stabilised themselves, getting in defensive position as they placed their shields on the ground. The rude provocation had angered many of them, but not one took a step forward. They had grown used to obeying Richard’s orders— if Richard wasn’t commanding them directly, they would only follow the wind wolves.
At that time, Richard’s core party looked at each other before casting a look of disbelief at their opponents. Having met several forces in the Bloodstained Lands, both strong and weak, they had never come across someone with the nerve to provoke an army of hundreds with a mere twenty riders. With how close they were, a simple order for the barbarians to throw out their axes would completely decimate this group of morons.
At the centre of the formation was a young noble, his luxurious clothes covering a fat body that was certainly more than a hundred kilograms. He himself didn’t look beyond level 5, but his riding ability was beyond his weight and level. At the very least, he was fast enough to run for his life in the earlier battle. Naturally, that was also in part due to the breeding of the horse he rode. It was taller and stronger than the rest.
The youth raised his head and arrogantly looked at the opposing side, his gaze staying on Richard for a while. He had been most concerned about Richard’s mage robes and noble crest, but he grew even more haughty after realising the crest was unfamiliar. He couldn’t even be bothered to speak, merely waving his fat hand.
One knight immediately brought his horse forward at a gallop, covering the ten metres very quickly and almost hitting the barbarians at the front. A mere two metres away, the horse stood up and turned two rounds on the spot, before landing on its front legs.
The knight didn’t have that much control. It was just that his steed was intimidated by the invisible killing intent of those opposite, not daring to move any closer. However, his expression was the same as that of his master. His nose was up in the air, and he seemed unable to notice the rage on the barbarians’ faces.
“This is the great and mighty Highland Unicorn, Viscount Zim! Who the hell are you people?! Tell me now!” he roared.
Richard slowly raised his hand, stopping his subordinates from acting. The wind wolves crouching in their positions represented his intentions; as long as they didn’t move, neither would the warriors.
“My name is Richard, Richard Archeron. I’m a frontier knight under the Direwolf Duke,” Richard replied calmly.
Having heard of his rank, unbridled laughter broke out amongst some of Zim’s knights. However, the viscount in question didn’t pay attention to Richard at all, completely focused on Flowsand’s face. The cleric was eye-grabbing even in a crowd of hundreds. Even if one ignored her perfect complexion, her amber eyes and eyebrows lent a mysterious charm and aura to her face.
The knight at the front took out a lasso, spinning it a few times in the air before covering all the barbarians and desert warriors at the front. He didn’t even let go of the trolls and half-orcs, or the defected soldiers who had been following Richard since early into his invasion.
“Frontier knight what’s-his-name, consider yourself lucky. The noble Zim needs bodyguards, I declare that all these slaves have been confiscated by us. Take your personal guards and leave. Make it snappy! Don’t force me to punish you further!” the knight ordered haughtily, as if he was a king.
He didn’t even bother to remember Richard’s name, showing a clear lack of manners. This fellow wouldn’t even be classified as a noble, but he was already this arrogant. In fact, his arrogance surpassed that of his master.
“Wait!” Zim shouted, before gasping out some air. He pointed at Flowsand, “I want to buy that woman!”
The knight followed the viscount’s finger to Flowsand, lust starting to radiate from his eyes. However, the fact that his back was turned to Zim ensured that his expression couldn’t be seen.
The knight reached for the purse at his waist, fiddling around for a while. Giving it some thought, he didn’t throw the entire purse and instead tossed a few gold coins out to Richard, “Here’s ten coins! It’s already too much to pay for a woman. You, follow me now!”
As he spoke, the knight urged his horse in Flowsand’s direction. In his view, the slaves who were in the way would give way automatically. If they didn’t, he would just get his horse to trample them to death. Even though barbarians were strong, they weren’t strong enough to stand the trample of a horse. The death of lowly slaves would be no big loss. He might even be able to seek compensation from the frontier knight, who wasn’t of much higher rank than the slaves. He would just claim his horse’s hooves were damaged.
However, the slaves had no intention of giving way, their shields firmly rooted to the ground. The horse was the one who gave way, refusing to move forward. The knight’s face immediately burnt red with shame, and he growled with anger, “You damn slaves, move!”
*Whoosh!* he brandished his whip, lashing viciously at the barbarian at the front. The warrior didn’t avoid the whip, merely raising his thick arm to block. A loud smack resounded in the area as the whip landed on his arm, coiling around it a few times. The tip left a scar on the unarmoured warrior.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA