Book 3, Chapter 99

A Fierce Battle

The war raged from early in the morning to late in the night. Bluewater’s fragile walls only managed to hold on for the morning before numerous sections were broken through, the Empire’s infantry surging into the city. The moment the city was invaded, even Salwyn felt like the battle would end quickly. He had started looking at how to wipe out the enemy, deploying his knights to surround Richard. Killing the runemaster would be rather difficult, but just wiping out his army and killing his followers would be a huge victory as well.

However, the sounds of fighting did not stop. A battle that should have ended in a few hours stretched on infinitely. Only when day turned to night did Salwyn realise that the war had only just begun.

The sounds of battle were still ringing out everywhere inside the city even late into the night. Salwyn had been stood atop his carriage the entire day like a statue, not even drinking any water. He gazed grimly at Bluewater Oasis with its fires blazing everywhere, enraged at himself. The chaotic fight was already out of his control.

A few horses suddenly broke through the night, darting towards him. The one in the middle had a familiar body upon it.

The knight leading the group dismounted and knelt on one knee, shouting, “Your Highness, General Barry has died in battle! We expended much effort to get his body back!”

“Barry?” Salwyn’s expression changed and he jumped off the carriage. The knights carefully lifted the general’s corpse from the back of the horse, placing it in front of him.

Barry wasn’t young, but even approaching fifty years of age he had a body as strong as steel. He was someone Salwyn heavily relied on, one of his two army chiefs. The man’s upright and meticulous nature allowed him to command an army from the frontlines, using his power as a saint to cut through enemy ranks with ease.

He had personally taken charge of a group of elites when the invasion began, fighting throughout the day until now, where his corpse was all that made it back. Laid on his back, Barry’s eyes were still wide open in anger; his final roar was still frozen on his face. Numerous arrows were stuck into him, penetrating so deep through his armour that their feathers could not be seen.

Salwyn undid Barry’s chest-plate and saw a sharp cut at his heart. However, looking at the traces of blood around the wound the man was already on the brink of death when he suffered this blow. The enemy evidently had no need to add this blow. Of course, Salwyn had no idea how important this blow was to Phaser.

Salwyn’s eye twitched and he stood up, gazing at the blazing city in the distance. He suddenly saw a group of imperial footsoldiers fleeing the city in panic, a group of armed warriors right on their heels. Were those men really soldiers? The pursuers’ clothes were tattered, and there seemed to be no formation to them at all. All they had was numbers and ferocity, a combination of thugs, bandits, and slaves.

Seeing the tired footsteps of his men, Salwyn finally remembered that they had been fighting an entire day. The brutal reality convinced him to give up on his thoughts of winning in one shot; he turned to the knight by his side, “Send the order, we’re retreating!”

A moment later, a magic flare exploded in the night sky while a mournful horn resounded through the battlefield. The imperial army finally withdrew from the city, but seeing his warriors bathed in blood Salwyn could not recognise them at all. However, no matter how difficult it was to believe these were men he had trained himself. While it hadn’t been long since he recruited them, they still had considerable power. And yet, their numbers when withdrawing were greatly cut down from when they had entered the city.

“Your Highness—” A knight darted over, right about to say something, but was impatiently cut off by Salwyn, “Heal the wounded, make an inventory of the spoils and put up a proper guard. Do I need to repeat?”

Salwyn obviously wasn’t in the best of moods, but the knight still pressed on, “Master Willis was injured within the city. The priest said he was actually poisoned, the only way to save him is to send him back to the Church immediately.”

“Master Willis was injured as well?!” Salwyn was shocked, his expression quickly darkening. Willin was a level 14 great mage, one of the six on this campaign. He had taken the risk to enter Bluewater, but now he was left with serious injuries!

Thinking back to Barry dying in battle as well, Salwyn suddenly felt a sense of discomfort. It was as though he had forgotten something.

……

The sounds of slaughter had already calmed down in Bluewater. Some gutsy people were already walking around the streets, robbing the bodies of the imperial soldiers. More were putting fires, trying to save their homes.

In a small public square, Richard dragged his feet towards a small tavern, heaving hard to push open the doors. The hall was in complete chaos, dark bloodstains littering the floor; there had evidently been multiple battles here. The tables and chairs had long since been destroyed; Richard had to look forever to find a place that wasn’t as soiled to sit in. He eventually just sat down with his back to the wall, panting hard. Extinction and the Twin of Destiny were tossed beside his feet, stained with blood and dirt. Legendary items did not deserve such treatment.

His heart was pounding fiercely, body feeling empty as a dried-out riverbed. He had basically no mana, body wracked by pain as a result of overusing his strength. The imperial army had taken an entire day to withdraw; Salwyn was far more determined than he had expected.

A few giant bats flew in through the window, hanging on the ceiling to rest. These elites had already exhausted their strength, leaving only one of their brethren still circling the city.

Heavy footsteps rang out outside the inn as Gangdor squeezed his huge body inside. He took a look around, brashly clearing out some space with his axe before burying it into the floor and sitting beside Richard. He was breathing hard as well, blood all over his body with a number of eye-catching injuries on his skin. His frightening armour was dented and broken all over, revealing many more wounds underneath. This day had truly been intense; if not for his armour, the brute would have been too gravely injured to even move.

The act of sitting down prodded at Gangdor’s injuries, causing him to purse his lips at the pain. He produced a flask of wine and took a few swigs, before seeing it was almost empty and unwillingly passing it to Richard, “Drink a bit, boss! This stuff will give you energy!”

Richard took the flask and gulped down two large mouthfuls, belching out an alcoholic odour. He suddenly found himself feeling much better, but instead of returning the flask to Gangdor he undid his shirt to reveal a wound stretching from shoulder to chest that was a dozen or so centimetres long. Gritting his teeth, he poured the alcohol in the flask onto the wound. While his will was staunch, he still hissed at the pain.

“Boss, I’ll find a priest! That needs healing!”

Richard tossed the flask back to Gangdor and hummed, “Your wounds are more numerous and more serious than mine.”

Gangdor shook his head, “That’s different! My skin is thick, these little things are nothing. Some alcohol and a night’s rest and I’ll be fine. So many are still hurt, waiting for the clerics’ spells to save their lives. Although we have more clerics now, it’s still far from enough to save them all. Let’s not waste their divine force!”

“Right. Let’s not waste their divine force,” Richard repeated.

“No— Boss, that’s not the same!” Gangdor scratched his head, trying to refute him. In his mind, Richard was a lord; the status of a lord was more noble than that of commoners or soldiers. Gangdor himself was a mixed-blood, status even lower than commoners. On top of that, he had grown up in the Archeron death camps basically like a slave. However, Richard was different. A little injury on a noble was far more important than the life of a commoner; this was only common sense.

On top of all that, Richard wasn’t just a noble either. He was also a mage and runemaster, two identities that exceeded even his nobility. Richard’s actions left the brute confused; why would his lord treat his injuries like a common warrior?

Seeing that Gangdor still wanted to persuade him, Richard interrupted, “Enough! I know what to do. Come, remove your armour. Careful not to let it catch onto your wounds.”

Gangdor suddenly felt all the wounds on his body sting. He struggled to get up, clumsily starting to undo his armour. However, Richard picked up the Twin of Destiny and used the legendary staff as a crutch, moving over, “Let me help you.”

Gangdor wanted to reject him, but was stopped once again. The injuries on his arms also made it difficult for him to touch some of the buckles to loosen the armour. With Richard’s help, the heavy armour was finally removed.

As expected, many of the wounds had stuck to the armour; quite a few split open the moment it was removed. Richard himself ended up using too much strength, the injury on his chest splitting open and streaming blood.

The two men huffed as they sat on the ground, splitting the last bit of wine in the flask before their ashen faces regained a bit of colour.

“Boss, how’s everyone else?” Gangdor asked after a while.

“They’re fine. They didn’t even get hurt.”

Gangdor was startled, “What? Not even that fatty Tiramisu?”

Richard sensed the ogre mage in his mind for a moment before answering with certainty, “Not even him!”

Gangdor looked down at his numerous injuries, and then at the slice on Richard’s chest. In that moment, he was rendered speechless. It took him a long while to grit his teeth and speak, “Those fellows are too bloody crafty!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA