Book 2, Chapter 217

Brothers

Far away, Richard suddenly squinted. Tears streamed out from his eyes as though they were stung by smoke, but a quick wipe from his handkerchief took care of that. The broodmother’s elites used their own power to sustain their connection with him, so even if they were eliminated it would only cause a little irritation at most.

However, this was the first time one of his elite bats had been exterminated. It reminded Richard of the archer that had ambushed him at the inn. That fellow’s archery was extremely impressive, far surpassing Olar. His range had to be over 800 metres, making him a nemesis of mages. However, most long-range enchanted arrows used the power of nature to track their targets. His elven bloodline ensured he was extremely sensitive to them.

A plot for a serial assassination had been put into action that night. The actual killing began with a remote strike ambushing his subordinates, and when he received this news he was expected to look his calm. Hurrying into the open, he would then be killed himself. However, his calm vigilance and quick mobilisation of the troops had been unexpectedly immaculate. In addition to that, Richard himself had an extraordinary perception that allowed him to sense the threat and avoid the fatal blow.

Rolf was neither too early nor too late. However, Richard knew that it would be far too difficult for him to catch up to the assassins. And even if he did manage to chase up to them, even a saint would have no choice but to flee in the face of a level 15 assassin, level 14 archer, and more than ten level 11 killers. If the opponents deployed themselves properly, even escape would be impossible. The difference between level 15 and level 16 wasn’t too apparent: it was level 18 where most mages and other powerhouses received new, powerful skills.

Richard had already memorised their general characteristics. Although they were experts at disguise, there were numerous secret spells in the Deepblue that were beyond their comprehension. Once he was of a higher level, there would surely be a way to catch them.

A moment later, Richard was already standing at the small tavern where the bloody battle had taken place. All of his followers were staring at the gory battlefield in silence.

Medium Rare was collapsed on the ground, still in the midst of an attack. His enormous body was riddled with countless injuries, all his organs bled out. The ogre’s left forearm was only left with a tiny patch of skin, all on the upper side. Two other corpses were left behind in the tavern, the chest of one completely caved in. Judging by his posture, the ogre had likely rammed his head into the man’s body and sent him flying. The ruptured ribs had pierced through his heart and lungs, making the injury fatal.

The ogre was collapsed in the opening in the wall. The assassins would have had to walk over his corpse to walk through.

Richard stood unmoving before the dead body. Heavy footsteps sounded behind him, as Rolf’s deep and mellow voice rang out, “A subordinate of yours?”

“A follower,” Richard corrected.

The difference between the two words was minute, but it was extremely important to Richard. Subordinates were often temporary, but followers would be companions for a long time. They were like brothers and comrades in arms.

Rolf shrugged in response, “Merely an ogre. But he really was formidable, what a pity.”

“His name is Medium Rare,” Richard insisted. It expressed his stance tactfully, but still showed his resolution.

“Medium Rare… A strange name.” Rolf understood Richard’s meaning, but he merely smiled in response. He just thought it was another eccentricity of the noble mage, ignoring it as he started to inspect the traces of the battle. The more he looked around, the graver his expression became. The bloody scene during the battle was reconstructed in his mind.

For his part, Richard had been informed about the battle by Olar. A single sweeping glance allowed him to see every detail by heart. He didn’t need to know how exactly it had happened; the killer’s name was enough.

Rolf checked the ogre’s injuries once more before commenting, “This looks like the work of Blackwing… Oh! This Medium Well could actually keep up with Blackwing’s subordinates for so long!”

“Blackwing?” Richard focused on the name.

“Mm. He’s the most fearful fellow in Red Cossack, even harder to deal with than their two saints. Although he’s only level 15, even I would have to be extremely careful if he decided to target me. Blackwing is a fiend of the shadows, a cockroach who can survive in the filthiest of places. Besides, he isn’t alone. He has nearly twenty assassins over level 10 under him to dispatch as he pleases. Those two over there are his subordinates.”

Richard nodded, repeating, “His name is Medium Rare.”

“Alright then, Medium Rare…” Rolf replied a little grudgingly. Already finished inspecting the battlefield, he was secretly astonished. This ogre had actually stalled Blackwing and his subordinates for so long. His body had sustained more than a hundred blows! It was completely unfathomable.

Blackwing was infamous for his vicious dagger techniques. The wounds he left behind weren’t only meant to disable. Every slash at muscle and bone brought along the most intense of suffering. If one continued fighting after receiving a wound from him, there was a high chance that they would rip the wound apart. Medium Rare’s own left arm was mostly ripped apart during the intense battle. What sort of resilience did it take to endure such suffering?

However, Rolf did not ponder about this any further. He just chalked it up to the ogre’s superhuman physique and vitality.

“How do you want to handle his corpse?” Richard asked Tiramisu, who had been silent all this while. Only after Richard’s question did Rare’s brother speak in a low voice, “Hand it to me, we have an ancient tradition in our tribe.”

“Alright,” Richard nodded at once.

Rolf turned around, casting a profound glance at Tiramisu, but the ogre did not even notice the gaze. The entirety of his focus was on his brother.

The ogre suddenly reached out to Gangdor, “Lend me your axe.”

Gangdor silently handed his weapon over. Even as everyone thought Tiramisu wanted to hack the assassins’ corpses apart to vent, the mage walked over to his own brother’s corpse. He looked over his brother’s tragic state, unperturbed as he raised his axe and cut the head off in a single forceful blow!

Some of the human soldiers cried out in alarm. Many of Richard’s followers also changed expressions, unable to understand what the ogre was thinking.

He raised his brother’s head in his hand, speaking in a low voice, “As long as I eat brother’s brain, his soul will settle down in my body. I will use his skull as a necklace, always carrying it with me. This way, whenever I behead our enemies he will see it too.”

This was a strange tradition, one that made the atmosphere suffocating.

Richard pointed to the headless corpse, asking, “What about the rest of him?”

“He can be handled in any way. In our tribe, the dead would become a meal. Otherwise, they would be deserted in the wild to feed the wild beasts. It was a way of giving back to nature,” the mage explained.

Richard nodded, “Then we can send him off with magic fire.”

He stimulated his Archeron bloodline, extracting blazing energy and mixing it with his mana. A crimson wisp flew out with a wave of his hand, landing on the corpse with a dull boom before beginning to burn violently.

This spell was a variant of Hand of Flames, not considered a proper form of magic at all. However, the addition of the power from the Archeron bloodline turned it into a blaze.

He pointed to the two other corpses, “Zendrall, I leave these to you. They shouldn’t be liberated in death.”

“No problem. If I use them carefully, I can keep them for a very long time.” The necromancer’s voice was low and hoarse, carrying a hint of the sinister and stifling feeling of a graveyard.

Rolf’s countenance changed slightly, his gaze at Richard growing somewhat different. The mage was just far too young and handsome, giving people the impression that he depended on his family background to achieve success. It caused one to overlook the feats he had achieved. Richard’s military successes were all glorious and splendid; even though he wasn’t a veteran of many kinds of battles yet most high-ranking generals could not beat him in a melee. That was all the more true for an individual powerhouse like himself.

The Sword Saint hadn’t paid much regard to this overly handsome noble in the past. Although Richard’s mentor could provide items he was unable to reject, this did not improve his impression of Richard himself. He hadn’t lived too long yet, but he had already seen many geniuses who rose like comets but fell in a short time. It was this cruelty that caused him to reevaluate the youth. Still, he did not think the level 11 mage could pose any threat to himself. A few more years, perhaps.

There was an ancient saying in Faelor: ‘Level is very important, but it is not everything.’

When people drew from the wisdom of ancient times, they emphasised the parts that they related to and valued. Those at higher levels would focus on the first half of this saying, while those who were weaker would focus on the second.

Soon after, the tavern was swallowed by the raging flames. The two assassins’ corpses were carried towards Richard’s camp, with Rolf and Richard moving together on horseback. The Sword Saint was escorting him back to the inn, to prevent any further mishaps on the way. A huge part of the swordsman’s profit was bound to the young great mage, and frail mages were always key targets for protection.

Along the way, Richard described the general course of Medium Rare’s battle to the death. The Sword Saint imagined the gruesome battle in his head, sighing involuntarily and speaking in a rueful tone, “I truly did not expect an ogre to sacrifice himself to protect his comrades. That is simply unlike… his kind.” He had wanted to describe the ogre as brutal and foolish, but had thought better of it in the last minute and stiffly forced the words back down his throat.

Richard seemed not to catch the implications in Rolf’s words, replying calmly, “Every ogre is different. It’s just that most people never cared to understand them, thinking there was only one type of ogre in the world.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA