Book 3, Chapter 155

The First Magic War

If there was anything at all during the battle in the Sunset Plains that annoyed Richard, it occurred in the last moments of the fight. A golden pillar of light charged into the air, milky white divine runes dancing around its silent imposition. Io had reached level 15.

The battle priest had obviously done it on purpose. Even an ascension to level 19 would not be so majestic. However, Richard didn’t really care about him anymore. Although the fellow seemed to have some secret intentions regarding Flowsand, he truly was indispensable in battle. He could have his fame; Richard’s mind had already shifted to developing his astral affinity further.

The cavalry of the alliance was composed of elite soldiers from numerous nobles. While Richard had the upper hand, it was much harder to kill them all than to just defeat them. He had suffered over a thousand losses in order to annihilate this enemy. However, this was completely worth it; the Mage Association was now a snake with its fangs removed, its footsoldiers nothing to worry about. The only issue was the thirteen grand mages still watching over them.

He was in no hurry to advance once the battle was won. He announced that he would accept the surrender of the enemy nobles; even if they had just gotten to the battlefield, any willing to side with him would be accepted without discrimination. Richard gave these nobles three days to consider the offer; once their time was up, he would not be able to guarantee their safety if they still sided with the Association.

This declaration caused another huge uproar in the Sequoia Kingdom. Very few of the nobles who had rallied behind the Mage Association actually benefited from them; the grand mages just had a hand at their throats. The Association’s might had been burnt into their hearts over many centuries.

Enchanted armour and weapons were the most powerful equipment on Faelor. If the channels of purchase were blocked off, the combined battle might of the Sequoia Kingdom would plummet. This could not be made up for without enough wealth to purchase these things from other channels. The only nobles who could remain neutral were those who had enough individual power to ignore the Association’s demands.

There was no lack of nobles who personally approved of Richard’s challenge to the Mage Association’s authority. However, the stand of a family wasn’t affected purely by agreeability. In a world where might made right, the laws were set by the powerful. At least before the battle at the Sunset Plains, Richard didn’t seem to have any chances of victory. Nobody had expected things to turn out this way.

The nobles in the allied army were left in turmoil. Some argued amongst themselves, others accused each other, and even more were secretly trying to make moves under the table. However, that last group was set up for disappointment; Richard refused to accept any secret deals unless the nobles were willing to become double agents.

Three days later, Richard signalled for his army to advance. This time he only brought his cavalry and the extremely flexible barbarian warriors, as well as the throwers. They marched 150 kilometres in one day, wiping out four nobles who had sworn loyalty to the Mage Association. The thousands of soldiers on the defence were utterly defeated, two barons and a titled knight becoming Richard’s slaves. The women in their families were turned into prostitutes, sold off and distributed amongst those who followed him.

When asked about this decision, Richard merely said, “My enemies shouldn’t even think about preserving any dignity!”

This was a cruel decision, and an intimidating one. When it reached the ears of grand mage Leon, the vice-chairman of the Mage Association smashed everything in sight.

“THAT FELLOW ISN’T FIT TO BE A NOBLE!” Leon’s shouts resounded throughout the building. He hadn’t expected that his methods of stirring up trouble couldn’t even compare to Richard’s. Under this matchless intimidation, most of the Sequoia Kingdom’s nobles turned neutral in a single night.

The three Dukes continued their silence, but everyone knew that Bevry was Richard’s lord. Richard’s unyielding nature and viciousness obviously had the Direwolf Duke’s approval. Duke Hamilton, reputed for being a sly fox, was said to be in a secret alliance with the Direwolf Duke. He could join Richard’s cause at any time as well.

As for Bevry’s mortal enemy, Duke Grasberg, his direct vassals had maintained neutrality but some others had joined the alliance. The relationship between the royal family and the Duke was quite intricate, but the man was now in a very awkward situation. An extremely important member of his family, Viscount Zim, had grown fiercely loyal to Richard. The psychologists in the Kingdom had all sorts of hypotheses about this, but most were just ridiculous. Whatever it was, Richard had a hundred Golden Eagles amongst his ranks.

Only six nobles remained at the Mage Association’s side; their army now numbered less than 20,000.

Leon was left on the verge of tears, but the royal family finally gave him a trace of hope. They broke their long silence, reinforcing him with 3,000 royal knights. However, this stand had come too late; it had basically no effect on the nobles who had already picked their sides. The entire kingdom was just watching on as they awaited a grand war.

……

Leon personally took to the field, leading his 22,000 men against Richard’s army of 20,000 in a decisive battle at the Crimson Gorge.

Salwyn had once said that he had no confidence against Richard in a battle with similar numbers. Leon was a genius mage, but he couldn’t compare to Salwyn in terms of leading troops. The prince had already proven himself in dozens of battles of varying scale; put bluntly, the two weren’t even on the same level. However, Leon was too arrogant to think that way. He believed magic was greater than everything else in existence, and a genius mage understood the truth of the world. Commanding some soldiers would be nothing difficult, or so he thought as he led his troops to a massacre.

In reality, the humanoid knights ensured that Richard’s forces actually held an advantage over the allied forces despite their numbers. Leon ended up watching in stupefaction as Richard’s cavalry broke through his battle formation in one stroke, dashing any hopes he had in the royal knights. The outcome had been decided in the first attack.

Countess Katrina had shone brightly in this campaign. The tall, fit beauty with fair skin looked flashy as she rode her chariot out to war, her soft skin knocking a full ten years off her nearly thirty years of age. She led her soldiers from Richard’s left flank, destroying any resistance she faced while Richard pierced through the centre of Leon’s army. Her clear shouts rang through the battlefield as the huge army of 5,000 charged forward and cut off the allied soldiers’ retreat!

No matter how useless Leon was, the sight of the Countess’ vanguard and Richard’s knights joining hands was enough for him to realise he had lost. The cruel mage was quite decisive, opening a randomised portal in the middle of the battlefield and escaping far away.

The battle at the Crimson Gorge had thus ended with the total defeat of the allied army. They had lost two more saints and two more grand mages over the course of the fight, 8,000 soldiers dead and over 10,000 taken prisoner. All 3,000 of the royal knights had been killed in battle, not even one taken captive. Two-thirds of the Sequoia Kingdom’s most elite cavalry had thus been wiped out, leaving the royal family in imminent danger.

While Richard had paid a price of nearly 4,000 warriors, he had crushed all of his enemies. The royal family would not be able to recover from their losses any time soon. This had been a stroke of luck; if someone competent had been in charge, it would have been extremely difficult to stop the royal knights and the many mages of the Association from coordinating an escape. He would have needed to pay a much larger price.

Now, he was one of the most powerful beings in the Sequoia Kingdom, standing shoulder to shoulder with the three dukes and what was left of the royal family. This left the power structure of the Kingdom in dire straits.

Leon had disappeared ever since the decisive battle, and power fell back into Theodore’s hands. The first thing he did was to capture the two remaining grand mages loyal to Leon, using them to seek negotiations with Richard.

While grand mage Hoover was outstanding at level 18, he wisely chose not to state his opinion. No matter how powerful he was as an individual, he couldn’t fight Richard’s army on his own. Even if he had the support of a magic tower, Richard could just cut off all reinforcements and starve him out.

Besides, the news of Richard using a divine weapon to heavily injure Jack and another grand mage was slowly spreading. This forced the incomparably proud Hoover to swallow his rage; Leon’s deductions had turned out wrong. Who else but a legendary mage could give their disciple divine weapons as equipment?

Richard made two requests in the face of Theodore’s peace offering. One was for the Association to give up their monopoly on enchanted equipment, allowing him to freely dump his stock into the Sequoia Kingdom. The second was to make him a dark gold mage, giving him the right to add any new members to the Association as he saw fit and employ any of its mages. He hadn’t expected the Association to agree to such a request, but Theodore had nodded readily.

His war with the Mage Association thus ended in a huge victory. In the history of the Sequoia Kingdom, it would come to be known as the First Magic War.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA