Book 3, Chapter 15

Unable To Refuse(2)

Rolf’s senses very astute. He immediately sensed the mystic undulations of divine power from the scroll, able to tell that it contained a powerful spell. It was a privilege restricted to the larger churches, only usable if one was a follower of the god. Rolf didn’t feel much of anything about the scroll itself, only unsettled by the fact that the aura being radiated by the scroll was foreign to him. He couldn’t help but recall Amon’s speculations of Richard being backed by a demigod.

“This is a divine scroll, I’m afraid I cannot use it.”

“Grade 5 divine spell, War Construct. I’m sure you’ve heard of it before.”

“War Construct?!” Rolf was startled. This was a powerful spell possessed by all greater churches, greatly boosting the defence, offence, and even speed and regeneration of the target greatly. The only drawback that its usefulness was limited to those of high faith, and few clerics could even learn it. Only one out of every four or five that had crossed level 12 could grasp this spell.

Although he was stunned at the rarity of the scroll, Rolf’s enthusiasm dissipated completely. No matter how powerful the spell was, it was not something he could use. As for the gold he could get from selling it, it would be too small an amount for him to care.

However, Richard’s next words caused the saint’s powerful heart to start beating rapidly. “This scroll is somewhat special, it can be used by those without faith. The power is slightly lower than a regular one, but at critical times it can turn the tides of a battle.”

Usable without faith? Rolf was surprised greatly. This was a sullied scroll! However, what did a sullied grade 5 scroll imply? A myriad of thoughts passed through Rolf’s mind; the person who scribed this scroll needed to be an official priest at minimum! No demigod could support an official priest!

Even as Rolf’s mind was whirling, Richard’s next words only served to agitate him further, “That’s just the first level. The scroll has three levels of power, although one needs faith to activate the third.”

Rolf’s expression froze slightly.

Richard smiled harmlessly, as if he hadn’t seen the unnatural expression on Rolf’s face. He pointed at the enchanted paper underneath the scroll, “On this paper is an introduction to my Lord’s doctrine, and the main tenets of His faith. If the person who uses the scroll chooses to follow them, they will immediately be able to activate the second level of power. The defensive boost will be increased, and divine power will be added to attacks. One’s blows will be difficult to endure, the injuries they inflict not easily healed by the spells of other gods. The third level requires a certain amount of piety.”

The Anrick Family worshipped their ancestors, meaning Rolf naturally rejected the gods. The priests he had met in the past drivelled on endlessly about the great might of their masters; never had one talked about divine power as a tool like Richard was doing. Richard was talking about weaponising the divine power within the scroll, using it to augment one’s offence and defence. This was the most direct way of turning the tables in a battle!

“Then how powerful is the third level?” Rolf asked tartly.

Richard answered in such a leisurely tone that it made Rolf want to kill him, “If— and I do mean only if… If you can activate the scroll to its fullest extent, it will have two effects. The first is half a minute of Extraordinary Recovery, and the second a divine weapon in place of your own whose every attack is charged with divine power.”

Rolf immediately held his breath. Extraordinary Recovery was a state akin to a healing spell being cast on one’s body every second. It basically rendered him immune to death for that half minute. As for the divine weapon, it would have power equivalent to Sinclair’s dagger, completely overshadowing any weapon Rolf currently had.

The third level of War Construct would turn Rolf into an instrument of destruction! If the scroll combined with the effects of his rune, he could likely take on both Chuck and Phinbar alone. Such a divine item, such strength! Rolf’s eyes blazed as he looked at the scroll, his heart surging. This was no mere grade 5 scroll— it could be considered a legendary weapon that was paid for by faith.

The Anrick Family might worship their ancestors, but Rolf wasn’t the successor and a powerful swordsman on top. Although his foundation had come from the power of his bloodline, given his current strength faith had little effect on him.

It wasn’t like there were no atheists in these kinds of families. Be it due to politics or other reasons, the longer the family existed the shallower the many worshippers’ faith grew. Bluntly put there was little benefit to worshipping one’s ancestors, and little punishment if one converted. It was mostly just a way to make one’s stand known.

And yet, this did not make things easy for Rolf. The head of the family, Marquess Anrick, was his blood brother even if they were not born of the same mother. He had never imagined that there would come a day when he needed to decide between power and faith.

Richard spoke up slowly, “Of course, Lord Rolf might have no need for this toy. It wouldn’t be impolite of you to just gift it to someone else.”

Rolf’s next breath was stuck in his throat. He decided that he would go without sleep that night, analysing all the information on that piece of paper before making any decisions.

Looking at the saint carry the magic box like it was a precious treasure, Richard smiled slightly. It was just as he had expected, and the outcome would be just as expected as well. He was bound to meet a powerful enemy in the future, and he would need to use the scroll. Since Rolf knew of the tremendous power of the third level of the scroll, Richard did not doubt that he would be unable to hold back. There was practically no punishment for an ancestor worshipper converting as long as their changed strength did not depend on bloodline. And as it turned out, Richard knew this did not apply to the saint swordsman.

The Dragon of Eternity and Light. This title alone could hold the attention of a fair number of people. Once Rolf saw the paper, he would be astounded by the fact that such a peerless god had almost no requirements of his worshippers. The price was minuscule, the lightest of worship deeming one a follower.

It was so easy!

The cost of maintaining the position wasn’t high either. If one didn’t offer any sacrifices, then there would be no cost to bear. However, Richard knew well that those with ability would choose to offer something. And after the first time would come a second, and a third… The Eternal Dragon never pressured any of his worshippers, and almost never punished them. However, as long as one had desires, the path of offerings had no end.

Most importantly, the old dragon didn’t reject any other gods. He was one of the few gods that did not mind his followers worshipping others as well.

Still, this did not mean the others felt the same. If Rolf activated the third level of the scroll, his faith in the Eternal Dragon would leave a brand on his soul. If he then started worshipping a god of Faelor, this new deity would definitely see the mark. Unless Rolf could find a way to remove it or the god was understanding, there would be no chance of the conversion happening.

Of course, the depth of the brand was directly related to the power of the god. Who could remove a brand the Eternal Dragon had carved with his divine force? The gods could perhaps forgive a follower of an opponent, but they would never let someone who worshipped a foreign deity go.

Kellac had taken a week’s worth of divine force to scribe the scroll, and Flowsand had processed it herself to ensure the item was worth it. It could be said that every one of these scrolls would create a solid ally.

The smile on Richard’s face slowly grew milder. Chuck, Phinbar, Blackwing, and that unnamed archer… All of them started popping up in his mind. He sat quietly in front of the window, his gaze on the darkness of the night. His blessing of wisdom was operating to its fullest extent, giving him the ability to process information at thrice the speed of the normal person. Numerous battle plans flashed through his mind, almost all rejected for one reason or the other. Still, there were ten feasible plans by the time he wound up. He was confident that any one of them could leave either Chuck or Phinbar dead.

Only then did Richard realise the true extent of his power.

Early the next morning, Richard began to gather his troops into an elite force with 100 barbarians, 200 desert warriors, 200 of the mercenaries from the Demon Hunting Spears, and all of his throwers. He had taken them out by dusk, disappearing into the vast Bloodstained Lands.

He was dressed differently this time, no longer in his mage robes but in fencing garments that were easier to move around in. A simple cloak served to block the wind and sand, while two blades crossed on his back. One was the nameless elven sword, the other Sinclair’s dagger.

Over the next few days, it was as if a tornado passed through Bluewater’s surroundings. All the Red Cossack strongholds within a hundred kilometre range were completely levelled!

Richard commanded the troops with ease, winning all the battles and annihilating over a thousand men while losing less than ten of his own. In smaller-scaled battles, he was a veritable god of war.

The reaper wandered throughout the Bloodstained Lands, its whereabouts unpredictable. A few days later, a second class Red Cossack caravan entered Richard’s line of sight. This was no coincidence; someone had sold the information to him.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA