Book 4, Chapter 7

The First Battle In The Land Of Despair

“Slow,” Beye only took one look at Richard, “But thankfully not stupid. At least you knew to climb down yourself and not cut corners with the featherfall spell.”

Finally receiving some praise from her, Richard felt a little smug inside. His gaze shifted to the creature she had broken down, “What is this? A local monster?”

“No. This is a skaven, a native of Daxdus. These mouse-human hybrids are the lowest level of warriors in the Land of Dusk. They aren’t particularly strong, but they have a knack for survival and camouflage and can breed well. Their numbers keep increasing, so you can see them everywhere.”

Beye then raised the hide bag in her hand,“ A skaven’s teeth can bite through lafite and its bones are tough, light, and easy to process into high-grade shafts for enchanted arrows. Its skin is equivalent to that of a top-quality magic beast hide, second only to earth dragons.

“As for the black crystals within its bones, that is the method those of Daxdus use to store their energy. They can be used as a substitute for magic crystals; even the lowest grade that comes from a skaven is equivalent to a few standard magic crystals.”

“Wow,” was all Richard could muster in response. He was feeling somewhat strange. Those of Norland normally treated intelligent life completely differently from magic beasts. Even when orcs, trolls, ogres, or the like were killed in battle, their bodies would just be buried and not used. Most non-human species had some value to be harvested from their bodies, but burying them was a form of respect for a worthy opponent.

This skaven was one of the opponent’s warriors as well. Although it was easy for Beye to kill it, its species wasn’t as weak as it seemed. The skaven could reach level 16, had strange attack patterns, and were large in number. If a dozen or so attacked together, even a high-level saint would have to flee immediately. They might appear ugly from a human perspective, but they were still a sentient lifeform. The very fact that their numbers were still increasing in a Battlefield of Despair was enough proof of how terrifying they were.

Such an opponent qualified for equal treatment. The norm would just be to leave their bodies behind, but Beye was treating this one like any other magic beast. Seeing how skilful she was at it, this wasn’t the first time she had done this either nor was she the only one.

She started to continue forward, explaining things at the same time, “Daxdus is similar to the abyss and the hells. The powerhouses there rarely use armour, relying on the might of their own bodies. Moreover, most of them directly swallow various kinds of minerals and absorb the essence to strengthen their own bodies; some of their number can be considered walking warehouses of rare minerals. But their strength is proportional to their value; those warehouses also have terrifying abilities that one cannot easily match.”

Richard listened silently to her guidance, absorbing all the knowledge he could. The two ran through the ashen land in tandem as Beye taught him another practical technique to remain rather quick but match his energy drain to his natural recovery.

An ear-piercing roar suddenly rang out from nearby, following which the ground began to rumble and quake. A thunderous sound of hooves reverberated through the air.

The two daggers leapt into Beye’s palms and she gestured for Richard to distance himself, “It’s a captain of the enclave centaurs. This will be a tough opponent, careful!”

It wasn’t long before an enormous figure charged over. This person looked only vaguely similar to Norland’s centaurs, his height of over four metres making both Richard and Beye look like children. He seemed more like an elephant-hybrid than a horse.

His lower equine body had six legs, and the human upper half had four arms each of which held a heavy weapon. The horse-half had long, thick fur with metal plates draped on it, but these plates seemed more for decoration than anything else. Most inhabitants of Daxdus liked shiny or glossy things, and the fur on an enclave centaur’s body couldn’t be cut through even by a normal enchanted weapon anyway.

Just from appearance alone, one could tell this person came from a race that held strength in the highest regard. His speed was outstanding as well; he had to be level 19 at minimum. Seeing Beye in his path, the enclave centaur raged with words Richard could not understand. Two of the weapons in his arms slammed into each other, causing a loud boom that left Richard dizzy for a moment.

The captain then rushed forward, four arms landing a shower of blows on Beye. In his eyes, Richard who had already retreated about twenty or thirty metres away was clearly a negligible character.

For his part, Richard had shot off a slowing spell the moment the centaur made his move. However, even though a yellow light lit up on the opponent’s body, there were no signs of him slowing down at all. The magic resistance was so high the curse had basically no effect.

Beye somehow escaped from the range of the centaur captain, appearing at his waist which was difficult for him to attack. He let out a mad roar, turning with great strength to send a hammer smashing towards her head. However, she flashed a few metres away with a single step, occupying another gap in the attack. The enemy’s hammer crushed the ground and sent splinters flying, leaving a huge pit that was over ten metres wide on the ground.

Although he was rather shocked by this enemy’s strength, seeing that Beye was in no danger Richard’s worries slightly eased. He began to prepare a chant.

Only after arriving at the Battlefield of Despair had Richard found out that the spells he had stored in the Book of Holding were useless. Forget the small and fast raptors from Nature’s Beckon, even a tall and strong wyvern would not be able to match a single swing of the centaur captain’s hammer. Only an earth dragon, a creature with true dragon blood, would have any chance of resisting. As for attack spells, the damage dealt by grade 7 magic was nothing in the face of such a terrifying powerhouse. It would take the Twin of Destiny and a full-power use of Sacrifice to render the centaur captain half-dead, but even so he would still be able to cut a fragile mage apart seven or eight times.

Instant death spells like the Finger of Death or Spirit Lash were only useful on the weak. When cast on someone like the centaur captain, those effects would not come into play at all. Without the instant death effect, these spells couldn’t compare to a more standard grade 7 attack spell. Burst fireballs might have been the answer, but they covered a huge area that would certainly envelop Beye. She had great strength, but the endurance of her flesh was no match for that of the centaur.

In desperation, he was chanting a spell he had never used before. With the enemy not caring about a mere grade 7 spell or a weak level 13 mage, he managed to complete it in a few seconds without any interruption.

A ray of strong magical light suddenly flashed over the centaur’s head, forming a translucent coffin that encased his entire body. This was Tomb of Light, a spell dedicated to restraining and attacking creatures of darkness. Leaning towards the power of the divine, it could cause chaos within the energy pools of those from a plane of darkness like Daxdus, causing damage and even limiting their movements.

The centaur captain grew still just as expected. However, that state only lasted a second before he immediately let out a wild roar, energy surging out of his body to disperse the spell in a flash. Tens of wounds had already been split open on his upper body, fresh blood flowing out, but to someone of his power they were no worse than the wound a human would suffer if scratched by a fruit knife.

Seeing his spell doing far worse than expected, Richard’s expression warped. He couldn’t think of any other methods. However, Beye chose just that moment to strangely lean under the lower body of the centaur captain, and a wave of intense breaking and snapping sounds immediately made their way to his ears. It made his skin crawl.

The enclave centaur suddenly let out an earth-shattering shriek, his thick legs that looked like stone pillars deforming in an instant as his body collapsed with a loud thud. The rocks beneath were crushed to dust as he howled, twisting in unbearable agony. He even abandoned his weapons, hoping to use his arms to prop himself up, but with its joints completely destroyed that was an impossibility.

Beye appeared before the centaur captain like a ghost, the daggers in her hands piercing into his open mouth like a flash of lightning. They twisted around as they explored his insides for a bit before she quickly pulled them out, withdrawing ten metres away. The centaur’s movements grew stiff, limbs twitching involuntarily as the light in his eyes dimmed.

She looked at Richard and shook her head, causing him to force out a laugh. Seeing her destroy the centaur’s legs in a flash, he knew that his spell was completely unnecessary. It would have been better to cast an agility or iron skin spell on her, but even that would just be a waste of mana. What he should have done was simply nothing, sitting and watching her kill.

Only after witnessing this battle did he truly understand just how terrifying Beye was.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Pei

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA