Book 3, Chapter 70

Prey

Rolf had never heard of the Eternal Dragon before, but this god’s requirements for his worshippers were incomparably simple. As long as one was willing to seek out items of great power and sacrifice them, that was enough. So-called pious followers would only have to mention his name and promise to perform a sacrifice to the best of their abilities during their lives. In other words, trying was enough; it didn’t matter if one actually performed a ceremony. Of course, one would obviously get better benefits from offering something. The writing of the Church mentioned that the divine grace obtained upon sacrifice would definitely net the offerer more returns. When it was a matter of faith, no god could afford to lie.

The third level of the War Construct scroll was so close! Rolf knew that a single thought would qualify him. The price was the eternal wrath of the gods of this plane, but coming from a family of ancestor worshippers he already had no favour from them. This was a small price to pay.

The scroll seemed to be beating in his pocket on his way back from the meeting. The help of the third level of the scroll would give him the confidence to kill Chuck or Phinbar one on one, and he could still escape if both were together.

At the thought of the humiliation he had suffered in the past at their hands, Rolf’s gaze grew darker. He had wished to see the heads of these two all this while, and now he could be paid 300,000 gold for one? Such a bounty left his heart thumping. Even a powerful saint would need a long time to amass such wealth.

Richard had already planted the seed; he only needed to wait for it to bud.

……

Over the next five days, Richard acquired a lot of the land near his camp at low prices, expanding it fivefold. This way, he could accommodate more buildings and soldiers in the area. Some of the small obstructions in the process had been taken care of instantly, not even reaching his ears.

The equipment he had ordered had arrived as well, taking up practically all of the storage space of the Golden Warflag and a few other large trade groups nearby. Most of them were quietly sent to the boundary of the Land of Turmoil.

After waiting for a few days for all of his new knights to integrate into the army, he spent one morning gathering his troops and left Bluewater Oasis.

Richard didn’t plunder the Red Cossack caravans as many had expected him to, instead beginning the journey back to his territory. The threat of the people occupying the Fontaines’ land left him exceedingly uneasy. He would first take care of this powder keg before it exploded. Maintaining such a large army was resulting in significant losses for the enemy, and the longer this went on the more they would hate him. If they took the initiative, he would be forced into a passive defence.

Leaving Bluewater Oasis and feeling the red soil under his boots once more, Richard felt his entire being relax. The soul nodes in his consciousness kept lighting up one by one, giving him a feeling of expanded awareness that was intoxicating. His world had expanded severalfold in a single moment.

Waterflower, the broodmother, his followers, the elite bats flying in the sky… They were all his eyes.

“How are we fighting this, boss?” Gangdor was following Richard’s horse on foot, rushing across like the wind.

“We fight!” Richard played it down.

“Good!” Gangdor roared, his eyes twinkling, “I like this!”

The brute was no longer half-naked. Richard had forced him to wear the enchanted scale mail he had returned with, something only half as heavy as full plate but with twice the toughness. The gauntlets for most normal soldiers had been repurposed into pauldrons for him. And Richard had also crafted a grade 2 defence rune for him. He was now a steel fortress, able to charge into a full legion of heavy knights once he activated Gaia’s Force and the strength rune! 

……

Twilight Castle. Sir Odom suddenly stood up and grabbed the soldier front of him, “What did you say? That little bastard showed himself?!”

His thunderous roars resounded through the hall, shattering a few of the antique vases to leave a bunch of debris on the floor. The soldier turned pale in Odom’s large hands, growing breathless. There was no way for him to speak.

“You’ll kill him at this rate,” Earl Layton reminded Sir Odom from the side. It was only then that the boor let go of the poor soldiers with a rough sigh, letting the soldier finish his report.

Sir Odom was a tanned man with a thorny beard, his heavy armour coloured a mix of black and dark red. The sharp spikes on the ends of the armour seemed extremely vicious as he walked to the door, grabbing an attendant and screaming, “Gather the cavalry! Also get those fucking mages and priests off their girls and tell them to prepare! We leave in an hour!”

Layton was shocked. “Odom, that’s too little time!”

“70 kilometres, we’ll reach the place in two hours,” Odom objected.

“We won’t have the time to pack supplies if we leave in an hour,” Old Hogan advised from the side, “If we want to reach the place in two hours, not all of the footsoldiers will make it. Most of the mages and clerics will definitely fall behind! That could pose a great risk, Richard isn’t normal. He’s been gone for so long… Now that he’s suddenly shown himself, he must have some nasty plot.”

Odom scoffed, “A plot? With just those 600 or so troops of his? Tell me, old man, how would you defeat me with just that force?”

Hogan’s brows locked together, wrinkles deeply etched into his face in helplessness, “Just because he shows us 600 doesn’t mean that is all he has.”

“Enough!” Odom interrupted with a roar, jabbing at the other knight’s chest with his middle finger, “Know your place, old man! I’m the highest power here, cut the bullshit and do as I say. Don’t think you’re the only one who knows how to lead an army into battle, my results are much better than yours. You were still a peasant when I started killing people!”

Old Hogan’s expression changed. His background was a sting that could not be removed.

“Just take care of your troops and keep up. If any mage or cleric falls behind, take care of them. Just do your job!” Odom was like a black wargod, swirling out of the hall like a hurricane.

“Odom, wait! We can still discuss this!” Earl Layton shouted.

“What’s there to wait for? I’m already dying in this castle. I want to vomit whenever I see Fontaine’s wife’s ass!” His voice grew more and more distant.

Earl Layton strolled to Sir Hogan’s sighed, patting his shoulder with a sigh, “Don’t mind it, that’s just the kind of person he is. We have 700 elite cavalrymen alone, and his personal heavy cavalry is around as well. There won’t be any problem dealing with Richard.”

Hogan shook his head, “Don’t forget the 200 Golden Eagles that died at his hands.”

Gloom filled Layton’s face. That was still a mystery to this day, unsolved in the past three months.

It was unknown if the Direwolf Duke had discovered something. He informed the outside world that he was recuperating after the large war and had not left his place. No matter how they plundered Richard’s lands or invaded any of the Duke’s other vassals pretending they were lost, Bevry wasn’t the least bit concerned. One of the Viscounts bordering Richard actually didn’t even complain to the Duke, taking things to court instead and claiming it was a robbery. Two of the Golden Eagles were turned into scapegoats and sent to prison, turning them into laughing stocks in noble society.

Now that Richard had finally appeared, perhaps letting Odom go test the waters wasn’t a bad option. Layton couldn’t help but press his hand to his forehead. The entire matter was riddled with issues, all because of this frontier knight that had popped out of nowhere.

……

An hour later, Odom was on his gigantic black warhorse as he led 700 cavalrymen out. Many infantry battalions had been sent forth earlier, in addition to scouts that would determine the location of Richard’s troops. Odom headed the army, hurrying forth at an acceptable speed.

Although they weren’t moving much faster than a trot, without enough preparation beforehand it was still a very tiring task. The dozen or so mages and clerics were looking unwell within the first ten minutes.

Odom seemed like he couldn’t care less, not showing any intent to let the cavalry slow down. Richard’s best warriors were just level 10 or 11, and most of them were footsoldiers. The cavalry was made up of mere desert warriors as well. There was news that a group of mercenaries called the Demon Hunting Spears had joined Richard’s army, but in the eyes of nobility, they were no different from bandits. How could they be mentioned in the same breath as a legion of proper knights?

Odom was very familiar with the Bloodstained Lands. He had once led thirty of his personal guards on an expedition to kill 400 bandits, leaving rivers of blood in his wake. The desert warriors couldn’t even compare to those bandits, so why would he care about them?

When the hour mark arrived, the scouts returned with the location of Richard’s camp. The discovery left Odom in high spirits; if he acted quickly, he could still rush back to Twilight Castle in time for dinner.

Some of the weaker mages and clerics were already falling behind.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA