Book 2, Chapter 188

Secret(2)

Phaser went silent for a moment, endless light flashing through her eyes before she spoke, “It was because of the fighting.”

She spoke in a complicated divine language that came from the same family as the broodmother’s, different from all known divine language systems in Norland. Only because of the broodmother could Richard understand her words instead of relying solely on telepathic communication.

This was another small detail that he found strange. Humanoid as she was, a drone was supposed to be a drone. Spoken language was supposed to be unnecessary, especially when it was just the two of them where telepathy would be faster. However, Phaser acted like any other human. Regardless of whether he spoke to her physically or through telepathy, she normally replied with her actual voice.

However, her answer this time clearly couldn’t satisfy him.

“Be a little more specific.”

“… The souls of those I kill in battle are extracted, transformed into power to use. This allows me to grow quickly,” she finally said clearly.

“Where did this ability come from?”

“I had it since I was created; it should be an ability extracted from the original template.”

Richard nodded in understanding. It seemed like Phaser had inherited a number of Sinclair’s abilities, even enhancing some aspects. After all, she was a special unit created with three units of divinity. He still didn’t have a concrete idea of how much that was, but it was definitely no weaker than the ancestral soul of a large orc tribe.

Looking at her growth, Phaser seemed to be giving up on her enhanced defence to focus on increased speed and damage. Richard thought over it for a while, deciding not to interfere with her natural evolution and just have a set of light armour custom-crafted for her instead. Defence was just as important as offence on the battlefield; focusing on the latter exclusively only worked in small-scale battles. Even basic defences could oftentimes save one’s fate, Sinclair being a prime example.

Once Phaser left, Richard’s thoughts drifted back to Waterflower. That wild yet icy young lady was the same, overlooking all defence and refusing even leather armour. She relied solely on the power of her runes, but that would not protect her in the least from the attacks of a true powerhouse. He decided to get her a set as well, unwilling to let her fight as she wished anymore.

……

With the over two hundred stakes erected and the ‘bandit’ bodies put on display, the fight quickly became a hot topic in Baron Fontaine’s lands. In a short few days the news seemed to have grown a pair of wings, spreading throughout the Sequoia Kingdom. Richard and his essentially barren territory drew the attention of the powerhouses of the kingdom once more.

He became the centre of discussion at countless afternoon tea parties, evening feasts, and game tables. Because the Archeron name had never been heard by the people, and his official lineage was said to be broken for four generations, he was classified as one of the nouveau riche who was ‘cool’.

However, these nobles did not think that Richard was cruel; he had just used methods common to all aristocrats to deal with the bandits. There had been instances where a lord had chopped up any bandits, cooked them, and fed them to his dogs. Richard’s actions weren’t very alarming.

Richard’s identity as a great mage was another curiosity. Such a young great mage was uncommon throughout Faelor’s history, so many were inclined to believe that a grand mage stood behind him, one close to the legendary realm at that. This unknown grand mage was likely hidden away in the dark world.

The ‘dark world’ referenced here was basically any place humans rarely or never visited. This included the ancestral plains of the barbarians to the southwest of the Bloodstained Lands, or the Ashen Plateau to the northwest where the orcs, dwarves, and mountain people had their own kingdoms. 

This incident barely had any impact on Richard’s territory; it was originally a desolate stretch of land without many villages. However, it was definitely a big deal in the eyes of the ambitious nobles of the Sequoia Kingdom.

Within a secret room in Twilight Castle, a middle-aged noble with an imposing aura smashed the valuable porcelain cup in his hands, bellowing at Baron Fontaine’s uncle who was before him, “THIS WAS YOUR GREAT IDEA! Didn’t you say Richard wouldn’t dare raise a hand even if he knew we did it? What about now? Two squadrons of the Golden Eagles completely killed off, stripped of their armour and clothing, hanging in the wilderness for everyone to see! Tell me, how will you clean this up?!”

“My Lord, Richard dared to kill the Golden Eagles and even hang their corpses on stakes, this is definitely an insult! You should mobilise a large army, directly eradicating this small—”

A sharp smack sounded out, the loud slap to the face sending the fellow flying mid-sentence. It was so powerful he fell onto the cart of tea sets behind him.

This middle-aged aristocrat was only level 8, but that single slap had sent the level 11 man flying. Fontaine’s uncle was only a titled knight, so facing this earl with royal blood in front of him he did not dare to retaliate at all. He didn’t even have the guts to evade, only able to endure the slap.

This man was Earl Layton, the nephew of the king. His lands were rich in exclusive products, giving him a powerful army. Even without his royal blood, he would be someone hard to offend. Of course, he wasn’t here just for the benefit of the Fontaines or for Viscount Zim’s reputation. However, the Baron’s family was so incompetent that even despite his low expectations the Earl was fuming.

“He made them out to be bandits, you idiot! He even destroyed their faces, and ripped off the secret marks on the inside of their linen! It’s completely impossible to confirm their identities. He already complained to the Baron that his caravans had been robbed a few times, didn’t you announce there was a bandit group in your territory at that time? Now he’s suppressed those bandits! What can we say about that?!”

“Y-yes, my Lord, I didn’t think it through,” Fontaine’s uncles said in a low voice as he scrambled up, not daring to even clean off the blood at the corner of his mouth.

Earl Layton huffed loudly, giving the man a contemptuous look as he spoke coldly, “Do you think it’s so easy to solve this issue? An apology? 200 Golden Eagles! How should I explain this to their families? There aren’t even any remains to speak of, and then there’s the pension! If it wasn’t for your idiocy, how would they have been annihilated?!”

‘Weren’t you strongly in support of this plan at the start?’ Of course, the young Baron’s uncle did not dare put this thought to word, only able to wail in the depths of his heart.

When Zim was defeated, they had planned to obstruct the goods en route to Richard’s lands, angering the knight and forcing a counterattack.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Pei

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA