That dark premonition was like a piece of lead in Richard’s heart, urging him on to grow as powerful as he could as quickly as possible. He had to return to Norland.
The power at his hand was indeed growing rapidly, but the further he walked this path the more distinctly he understood how strong Sharon and Mountainsea truly were. He had known before that Sharon was powerful, but had not possessed the ability to gauge the extent of her ability. It was like a mortal gazing up at the starry sky, knowing it was vast but not how much.
He now felt like he had a slight idea, but that only made it clear to him that they were leagues apart with a vast ocean between them. As for Mountainsea, she walked a completely different path to power that he still couldn’t see through.
Back at the inn, the first thing he did was to enter the basement. The place had been turned into a temporary interrogation hall, the large room in the centre connected to a dozen small cells. Numerous instruments of torture were placed in the middle, most of which had been borrowed from the Golden Warflag.
Most of the prisoners here were dwarves, with some leaders of the second-class Red Cossack caravan added on. A few sinister half-naked torturers were currently dragging a dwarf who was at his last breath off the rack.
Standing at the side, Caesar quickly flipped through the holy tome in his hands. A gentle voice trembled out the chant for a healing spell, a ray of holy light pulling the near-dead dwarf back from death’s door. The youth looked pale, evidently finding it difficult to handle the bloody scene. However, that difficulty did nothing to affect his spells.
A shadow of the late Baron now lay across his face. His gift for the divine was apparent: it hadn’t taken him long to get to level 3 where he could start casting healing spells. He would qualify to be a full cleric in any church on Faelor now.
Olar was in charge of the entire procedure. His handsome, feminine features had been warped by fury, eyes shooting out a cold, cruel radiance.
“Hang him up and sober him with a few buckets of freezing water! Let’s see if he can remember the route back to the Anvil of Lightning then!” the elf shouted in exasperation.
Two torturers hung the dwarf up, pouring the water right on his face. The unconscious fellow yelled as he regained consciousness, all the wounds on his body throbbing with pain. He couldn’t help but groan, but every grunt was laced with curses. The many rounds of torture had not broken him.
There was practically no bit of skin on the dwarf’s body that was still in good condition. Caesar was constantly casting lesser heals to preserve his life, but the cleric did not yet have the ability to fix the wounds. That was something only someone at Flowsand’s level could accomplish.
Richard’s eyes swept through the room the moment he entered, and his face immediately distorted into a frown. “What?” he asked Olar, “They’re still not willing to talk?”
“These guys are like… No, they’re the same as the dwarves back home,” Olar smiled bitterly.
Already cruel and merciless, the bard had learnt a great many torture methods from Richard. On top of that, he had the help of a cleric. And yet, after an entire day and night, he still couldn’t force these dwarves to give up the most important piece of information— the location of their tribe.
One had to note that the presence of a cleric greatly enhanced the cruelty of torture. Of course, the extent of that depended on the level of the cleric— even if one slipped up, a high priest could bring someone back from the brink of death.
Richard’s brows wrinkled even more, “They’re still insisting on what they said?”
“Yes, Master.” Olar smiled bitterly, wiping away the sweat on his forehead, “They’ve signed a contract with Red Cossack, witnessed by their god. They will support Red Cossack for thirty years, refusing to go against their oath. These dwarves are very stubborn, we need time to wear them down.”
Richard looked over the prisoners, asking, “Did you tell them clearly what that means?”
His tone was extremely cold, to the point that even Olar couldn’t help but tremble. “I’ve already warned them that allying with Red Cossack will make them our enemy, and that we’re never lenient to our foes. They know cooperating is their only chance of survival, but—”
“The dwarves of the Anvil will never betray an oath to our god!” a coarse roar sounded out, interrupting the elf’s words. It was a rough gunman, his moustache so coarse it looked like a horse’s mane.
Richard headed to the dwarf’s cage and crouched down, speaking calmly, “I don’t need you to betray your god. Just give me the formula for your gunpowder, and I’ll let you go. If you still want to support Red Cossack after that, do as you wish. However, let me remind you— Red Cossack is a target I must exterminate. I won’t hold back if I see your kind at their side.”
“You want the formula for the Thunder God’s Fire? Dream on!” the gunman guffawed, spitting at Richard.
Richard’s expression grew cold. Air surged as his magic barrier stirred, sending the saliva flying back to paste itself on the dwarf’s face. He did not have the patience to waste time on the dwarf, instead walking up to the caravan captains, “What about you? Are any of you going to tell me what I want to know?”
Most of them were silent, only one middle-aged man spitting in contempt as he said fiercely, “You dare steal Red Cossack’s goods and kill our people… Wait for your death! Once our army arrives, you should pray you die in battle. If you don’t, burly men of all races will be waiting for your ass! Your women won’t do any better… They’ll be taken by at least fifty every day—”
Richard stood up, a silencing spell cutting off the man’s words. “Why is it that everyone we meet is smelly and stubborn?” he frowned, “Isn’t there anyone in Red Cossack afraid of death?”
His voice was calm, but Olar shivered once more. He had no idea how to answer, but he could not remain quiet either. The atmosphere was stifling in the silence.
“Master… We might just have had bad luck this time,” he said carefully.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA