Book 3, Chapter 22

Power(3)

Even clerics and mages found it impossible to perfectly control their strength. Some mana would always overflow when they cast spells. Flowsand’s exquisite control made the waste negligible, but when something like Outburst was activated the overflow was far beyond normal. For whatever reason, Richard could absorb divine power despite being a mage. And the more divine power he absorbed, the greater his response to the astral rays.

It was nine the next morning when Richard ended his meditation. Olar, who had been waiting at the doorway for a long time, informed him that the Direwolf Duke had sent an army over early in the morning. This time, they brought offerings that were of utmost importance.

Richard was quite surprised, immediately rushing downstairs. Three carriages were already parked in the inn’s courtyard, fully armed soldiers in familiar armour guarding by the side. Every single one was level 10 at minimum, with a murderous aura that evidenced their experience in battle.

An iron tower of a knight was standing in the courtyard, in conversation with Flowsand. Richard’s eyes suddenly felt sore the moment his gaze landed on the fellow, tears nearly flowing. The knight’s sheer power shocked Richard; the radiating energy alone had caused him to suffer a hidden loss.

The knight turned his head, levelling an electric gaze at Richard before curbing his lofty aura. Richard looked at the steel-whiskered man in his forties, identifying him as Lord Moonbear whom he had met before at Twilight Castle.

Since they had met before, Lord Moonbear forewent any pleasantries and spoke directly, “Sir Richard, I’ve escorted these offerings here on the orders of the Duke. Duke Bevry will be here in three days.”

Richard was taken aback, asking, “The Duke is coming as well?”

Lord Moonbear nodded, “Yes. His Grace hopes you will be able to prepare the necessary ceremony by the time he arrives.”

Lord Moonbear didn’t mention the kind of ceremony, but of course Richard understood. Bevry wouldn’t reveal all the details even to a trusted aide; after all, they could not let the details of the ceremony slip. However, the altar was supposed to be built on Richard’s territory originally; it seemed like the Duke had changed his mind. Was something going on in the Sequoia Kingdom?

He was still paying attention to the situation back in the kingdom. Although the flow of intelligence wasn’t all that great, there were still some gains. He had been able to interpret some information from what originally seemed incoherent.

The Fontaines were one of the greatest producers of weapons in the Sequoia Kingdom. The Horn of Kane was another huge production site, and the largest copper and iron mine they relied on was said to be running out, but a branch of it was found in Richard’s current territory. Although the land nominally belonged to the Direwolf Duke, it had basically never been developed. Most interesting was the fact that Richard’s mine was connected to both the Fontaines’ and to the Horn of Kane.

The Horn of Kane was owned in combination by three Earls— the king’s nephew Layton, Zim’s father Yatu, and The Earl of Strength Pamela. Zim evidently wouldn’t be the only person Richard would have to go to war with.

The entire thing reeked of conspiracy. Still, Richard didn’t spend too much energy on guessing whether Bevry knew anything. As long as the facts proved that the idea of targeting the Bloodstained Lands was correct, everything was alright. The most important thing now was to use this time to strengthen his army.

“Sir Richard,” Lord Moonbear interrupted Richard’s thoughts, “Here’s a list of our goods.” The man then passed him a scroll, instructing all the knights on guard to keep watch outside as he personally closed the door.

The scroll had a magic image upon it, the skeleton of a huge dragon. Although it was incomplete, one could still feel a terrifying aura coming from it. The image flickered a few times before the scroll ran out of mana, turning into a wisp of flame that faded away.

Richard walked over to the carriages and opened them up with Moonbear’s help, exposing the skeletal remains within. A powerful aura surged out the moment the flaps were lifted, causing Richard to pale slightly. Although this dragon had been dead for a long time, its remains still held great power.

“True draconic remains! I take it the Duke won, then?”

Lord Moonbear sighed, “A pyrrhic victory. Only two of the four regiments we sent out returned. More than 4,000 soldiers were lost, amongst which were many elite veterans. After all, we were basically fighting the entire Whiterock Dukedom; the enemy had much greater numbers than we did. Earl Jayleon’s castle is also well-known for its defensive capabilities, over a thousand of our brothers were left behind at its base.

“I still don’t understand why we started such a great war. Just for these old bones? If I find out that someone dared to deceive the Duke, I’ll be the first one to break his bones!”

Lord Moonbear’s words had a questioning tone. A burning glare was levelled in Richard’s direction, with a powerful vindictive aura radiating from his body. Richard understood that this saint already thought he was a treacherous minister who had bewitched the Duke.

Duke Bevry naturally wouldn’t tell his subordinates the details of his pact with Richard. With the latter being a new frontier knight whose origins were unknown, it was normal for an experienced saint like Lord Moonbear to look down on him. The indignance was only to be expected. Richard had no doubts that, if Moonbear acquired any concrete evidence against him, the man wouldn’t even wait to report it to the Duke before killing him.

However, he would not concede this time. Lifting his head, he met Moonbear’s electric glare. A confrontation of gazes sparked in the empty space between them, almost giving rise to a fire!

Richard suddenly smiled, “Lord Moonbear, have you heard of Blackwing?”

“Of course, that crazy mutt!”

“A crazy mutt I beheaded only a few days ago,” Richard said calmly, “His head was publicly exposed outside the city. Did you not see it when you entered?”

Lord Moonbear’s expression immediately turned serious. He certainly knew how difficult it was to kill Blackwing. More than one important character from the Sequoia Kingdom had died at the assassin’s hands, but the man himself had lived on all this while. A level 15 assassin was sometimes more terrifying than a normal saint.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: XE

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA