The Mensa Family instantly went into an uproar, many condemning Richard. However, they weren’t the only ones complaining. Micah Schumpeter grew especially agitated, “Miss Rosie is already betrothed to my family’s head! Richard, this is a blatant insult to the Schumpeter Family, I’ll kill you!”
The moment the words left his lips, there was no shortage of young nobles encouraging him. He charged straight towards Richard, intending to begin then and there, but a powerful figure blocked his advance. The youth had taken no more than two steps before Gangdor grunted audibly, staring at him with the same disdain one held for a rabbit. Micah may have been level 15, but as far as Gangdor was concerned someone without the slightest hint of a bloodline was just a weakling wishing for death.
Fuschia moved calmly towards Richard’s left. Her beauty and skill were both well known in Faust, and just as expected the unruly youngsters immediately decided to back off. It was clearly impossible for them to overpower a level 19 powerhouse. And with his supporters gone, Micah didn’t dare to rush towards his death.
Richard didn’t bother looking at everyone else, staring at Young Mensa icily, “You should know a duel can only proceed if both sides have the same status, or the superior will send a subordinate to fight on their behalf. I am a royal runemaster. What gives someone with no significant title to speak of the right to duel me?”
Young Mensa grew incredibly sombre. Richard was speaking the truth, but the way it was said felt like a hard slap to the face.
“Some royal runemaster you are,” Foster suddenly jeered from the side, “You can’t even craft a grade 3 rune.”
Richard turned around to look him over up and down, unable to help a laugh as he shook his head, “Are you that eager to give your master a new archenemy? If I were Lunor, I would carefully consider your motives.”
Foster was left at a loss for words. Looking around, he saw the Third Prince clearly irritated; his heart skipped a beat. While the royal family was dissatisfied with Lunor, they did not wish for an open war between the two royal runemasters. A country as large as the Sacred Alliance could never have enough runemasters. He found himself hating his big mouth. Richard was distasteful, but that was a rivalry for his master to participate in.
“You’ll be throwing your brother’s life away if you refuse to duel,” the Mensa youth made one final attempt. However, he couldn’t help but feel extremely anxious at the calm tone of Richard’s response, “I will avenge him.”
Richard wasn’t just the royal runemaster; it was quite likely that he would become a saint runemaster in the future. Someone like that wouldn’t find it difficult to strip a duke of his rule, even if said duke hailed from a powerful family.
Young Mensa tilted his head slightly, exchanging glances with the Third Prince who nodded to make his decision for him. He had come prepared to win today. It would be completely unacceptable for a level 14 mage to back down from a duel against a level 12.
“Very well,” he declared, “I agree to your terms.”
Rosie wanted to say something, but she eventually decided against it. She was beautiful, but her level 8 strength as a mage wasn’t nearly enough for her to be able to control her fate. Her only worth to the Mensas was in her status and body, as a tool for political marriages. Her personal honour was worth nothing compared to matters like merging with the Schumpeters and eliminating an archenemy like Richard. The Mensa youth was actually rejoicing secretly at Richard’s demand; it was just that he couldn’t accept without any hesitation in front of so many people.
Next came the matters of the duel contract, arranging for the arena, and other related matters. Richard found a place to sit and waited calmly; trivial matters like that would be left to the subordinates. Wennington had also been treated by the Church, his injuries now under control. He didn’t dare to meet Richard’s gaze, standing alongside Venica behind him with his head lowered. He had finally realised the entire incident was a plot against Richard; he had been nothing but bait.
Richard was now preparing to duel, and two people consecutively at that. Wennington felt as though the sky would collapse upon him. Richard had already proven his unparalleled talent at runecrafting; given time, he would forge a great reputation for himself. It was no exaggeration to say Richard could single-handedly support the entire Archeron family in the future. Even the most powerful of families thought twice before offending a saint runemaster. But because of his own recklessness, that talent was left with no choice but to enter an unfavourable fight.
Richard seemed to sense the thoughts of his siblings, “Don’t worry too much, we Archerons don’t always do things rationally.”
Nyris and Agamemnon were silently discussing things on the other side of the room.
“Don’t you feel like Richard has grown very aggressive with his return this time?” Nyris asked silently.
Agamemnon nodded after a moment’s thought.
“Also,” the Prince hesitated, unable to help but lower his voice further, “It seems like he’s starting to resemble that sister of yours.”
Agamemnon’s eyes widened as he studied Richard’s figure for a long time, “That… I pray not.”
“Mm, I agree. Even a handful of people like Beye is more than enough.”
It took an hour for all the formalities to be completed. This duel was very important, far beyond the rivalry of two powerful families. It involved the Schumpeters and the royal family, shaking all of Faust. Every family sent their delegates to spectate, with Duke Mensa and the Schumpeter patriarch even attending personally. The officers in charge reserved the most extravagant arena possible, with the best available amenities. It could accommodate nearly a thousand spectators, with dozens of private viewing boxes.
Duels were a spectacle amongst the aristocracy, a melting pot of honour, blood, strength, and resolve. Their ability to entrance the viewers was unparalleled.
There would be two rounds. The first would be between Frodo Mensa and Richard, while the second would be against the Duke’s youngest son. Richard would have half an hour between the rounds for rest and recovery, the duels fought with magic on complicated terrain with rocks and trees.
To the surprise of everyone, Emperor Phillip himself graced the event with his presence. This was the time for His Majesty’s afternoon tea; for him to forego a meal spoke volumes of how important this duel was. Unfortunately, his expression told everyone that his mood was less than ideal. Still, that was understandable. No ruler of a country would be pleased when a royal runemaster entered a duel with someone. His Majesty was known to be an accomplished schemer; after this event, whoever had displeased him would face terrifying consequences.
With the Emperor present, the Third Prince naturally went to his box and stood behind him.
Cheers erupted from within the arena as both Richard and Frodo entered. Philip gazed upon the youths entering from opposing ends and grunted, speaking in a slightly nasal voice, “The Mensa lads did really well this time. They took the chance to attack Richard’s weakness and exploited the rules to force him into this position. Quite clever.
“But not wise enough,” he finished as he shifted his mountainous body, voice containing a hint of sternness that was difficult to detect. His words seemed to have a hidden meaning that jogged the Third Prince’s thoughts.
Frodo was the archetype of a mage, decked out from head to toe in magic equipment. He was wearing two rings, a belt, a robe, boots, and a necklace that were all superior-grade equipment, greatly amplifying his power. An unusually robust foundation was put on display the moment the duel began as he chose his position appropriately, erecting barriers and readying himself to counterattack. Everything was meticulous while his chants were clear and swift, his figure the very model of a future grand mage.
In stark contrast, Richard had no equipment as he stepped into the arena bare-handed. He just sneered icily as he stood still, watching Frodo add layer after layer of shield spell onto himself. Only when the enemy was done did he slowly raise his hand.
As Frodo prepared to start his attack, a gust of hot air started rising around Richard. His short hair started swaying in the wind as he muttered a short chant, a fireball forming between his palms and immediately flying towards the enemy.
Frodo was shocked. Richard’s first spell being this fast was completely unexpected. Had he devoted his time to learning to insta-cast a fireball? Did he really think a mere grade 3 spell could defeat a level 12 mage?
The flames engulfed the mage, but a magical light shone within until the spell flickered out. Frodo remained standing in his position, but was visibly shaken. Richard’s fireball was unnaturally powerful, eliminating half of his barrier in one go. But then he looked up, only to see a second fireball hurtling towards him.
How could he be this fast?! Frodo cried out in shock before being engulfed in flames once more. The raging explosions drowned his voice out in an instant, fireball after fireball shooting towards his position every second. Even a grade 3 spell could cause great damage when stacked so heavily. The cumulative power of Richard’s barrage was enough to even give a saint some pause.
Richard cast a total of eight fireballs before stopping. About fifty metres away, there was nothing left of his opponent but a smouldering corpse. Even the magic equipment had been unable to withstand the volley, burnt completely to ashes. Frodo had already been killed by the sixth, but Richard had only been satisfied after sending two more his way. The audience couldn’t help but find the scene unsettling.
The grand mage presiding over the contest was stunned, to the point that he forgot to verify if Frodo was alive. The entire arena went deathly silent, many subconsciously holding their breaths as the last eight seconds played on repeat in their minds. There was no shortage of nobles in that arena who were well-versed in magic; they had seen many magic duels, even those between grand mages. However, none of them had witnessed an event like this. Richard had only used a single spell from the start, annihilating his opponent with unending flames.
Unavoidable and relentless. It was a crude tactic, but it radiated the destructive power of heat.
Richard didn’t bother waiting for the announcement of his victory, turning towards Young Mensa who was amongst the audience and grinning icily, “You’re up next, Mr. Mensa.”
All colour drained from the Mensa youth’s face, “You’d rather waste time here than recover your mana? You do realise you have no more than half an hour.” Hidden away from everyone’s view, the youth’s left hand was shaking uncontrollably within his sleeves. He was sweating so profusely his clothes were visibly wet.
Richard spread his hands and smiled joyously, “No need, five minutes is enough. I just need to change my clothes.”
The youth felt offended and humiliated, but the declaration also relaxed him greatly. Another layer of sweat appeared on his body as he started fearing that Richard would take it back, and he immediately yelled out, “Very well! You had better not regret this!”
Young Mensa immediately felt innumerable gazes upon him, every one stinging hard. The nobles were whispering to each other, shocked at his unexpected weakness and lack of grace. He felt an immediate rush of shame, but quickly reassured himself. So long as the duel was won, nothing else was of consequence. A mana restoration potion would give one enough mana to cast a grade 6 spell within half an hour. Richard had unleashed eight consecutive fireballs, he should have lost at least a third of his mana.
“Fetch my equipment!” Young Mensa shouted as he stood up.
Several attendants from the Mensa Family emerged, opening a bunch of boxes in front of the nobles. Arrayed within were six pieces of equipment, half of which were epic-grade gear. One of them was a long magic staff bound in gold and white, a lifelike six-winged serpent coiled around the tip.
“The Plumed Windsnake Staff!” someone from the crowd gasped. This was a renowned heirloom of the Mensa Family, nearly reaching legendary might.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: JH
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA