Book 4, Chapter 11

Meaning

There were quite a few gazes of curiosity levelled at Richard along the way. The capital of the Unsetting Sun was a city of powerhouses, many of whom were young, but there were very few that were so low in level. Powerful families might send young disciples to the Battlefields of Despair to widen their perspectives, but in such a dangerous place a fragile level 13 mage was like an acolyte fighting in a normal battlefield; even if guards had been assigned, they wouldn’t be completely safe.

However, since Richard had Beye walking next to him, these people cleverly chose to ignore him.

In the end, Beye brought him to the highest layer of the city. The view of the kilometre-tall tower was especially spectacular from here, and one could see a shrine to the Eternal Dragon at the bottom. The teleportation gate back to Norland was located within.

“Amazing, isn’t it. This tower was once famed for being one of the plane’s seven great shrines. To date, there are few buildings in Norland that compare to its beauty. However, we’ve already exterminated the race that constructed it.” Her voice gave this piece of history more flavour.

“Turn back and take a look,” she pointed behind him

Richard turned back, looking down from above at the desolate view of the Land of Dusk. Now stood even higher than when they had arrived, his field of vision was much wider.

“Do you know why I brought you to the Battlefield of Despair?” she asked, and he shook his head. He had some guesses, but he wasn’t sure.

“We are all destined for planar war, it is a path that every powerhouse has to take. You might think they are far too cruel, but without the wealth plundered from numerous secondary planes, Norland wouldn’t be as powerful as it is today. Were we to be defeated in the battles with Daxdus and the other primary planes, we would become the same as this, completely extinguished. Once this place is completely destroyed, we’ll open up a new Battlefield of Despair with Daxdus. This is the cruellest, most realistic battlefield. Here, fighting is the same as breathing, an instinct of every inhabitant.

“When one starts with planar battles, they normally reach one of two extremes. They can doubt the meaning of the massacres and even begin to pity the enemy, or they’ll completely immerse themselves in the killing and seek pleasure in it to numb themselves.”

Richard was startled and smiled bitterly, “I feel like I’m on both ends. What should I do?”

“Just remember that killing is only a method, not your goal. You have to consider whether the method is appropriate, nothing else.”

Richard pondered over it for a long time, “... I understand.” When it was essential to kill, he would do so without remorse. If it was not, he would just give up on it. The answer to his questions was that simple.

He was in deep thought even as he moved towards the teleportation gate. The journey to the Battlefield of Despair this time was no different from a cruel baptism of his soul. From Norland’s perspective, planar war was unavoidable. One could either keep advancing or be destroyed like the Land of Dusk. In this situation, there was no meaning to discussing the meaning of planar battles. He could only choose to face it or avoid it. Beye had just shown him the attitude he needed to have towards killing.

……

When he returned to Norland once more, Richard felt like his heart had been covered by a layer of steel. The Land of Dusk would definitely be a place he would visit again in the future.

He had appeared back on the Orleans island; while he had spent an entire ten days in the Land of Dusk, the time-flow there was eight times that of Norland. Thus, only a little past a day had passed back here. Upon hearing that he was back, Agamemnon quickly came over and returned all the equipment he had been holding.

The moment he saw Richard, the corner of the youth’s eye twitched. The silent fellow stared at him for a few minutes until Richard was starting to feel scared before nodding, “You’re finally alright.”

“You knew I wasn’t?” Richard asked, baffled. Come to think of it, he didn’t really know why Beye had suddenly brought him to the Battlefield of Despair. Agamemnon and Nyris had obviously noticed more than he’d told them back when they were eating together.

Thankfully, Agamemnon wasn’t miserly with his saliva this time, “Everyone who’s been immersed in planar war for a year or two, especially when expanding, faces some degree of psychological problems. It isn’t optimal to go to the Battlefield of Despair, but it’s a way to solve it quickly. One will either be toughened by the experience, or they’ll go completely mad.”

Richard immediately grew confused, staring back at him and asking, “You’ve done this before too?”

“Yes.”

“Was it your idea?” He really didn’t believe Agamemnon was so decisive. Outside of a small few who were naturally optimistic and had strong wills, most would go crazy if they stayed in the Land of Dusk for any length of time.

“No, Beye forced me to.” As was expected!

After chatting with him for a while and agreeing on delivery times for the next batch of enchanted equipment, Richard left the Orleans island and returned to his own. On the way to the castle, he coincidentally met Fuschia who held him back and looked over him for a long time, “You seem to have changed a little again.”

He laughed in response, “I’ve gotten more handsome, haven’t I?”

She immediately created some distance and he burst into laughter before returning to his study. After entrusting some matters to the old steward, he prepared to return to Faelor. Before he could march to the Forest Plane, he needed to set things up in Faelor to prevent any accidents.

After walking out of the study, he passed through a long corridor. All of a sudden, he noticed Coco standing at a corner of a french window, head down as she seemed to be struggling with something. He only cast a glance at her, not stopping in his rush towards the stairs, but unlike him the girl’s expression changed greatly.

“Is anything wrong?” he asked as he came to a halt, having caught the change on her face.

“N-no, it’s nothing…” the girl shook her head hard.

He nodded, not pursuing any further as he hastily rushed towards the warehouse downstairs.

Only after he was far away did Coco stomp her feet hard, feeling hatred at herself. She really did have something to ask, but when she actually saw him she just couldn’t get the words out of her mouth. If she missed this chance, she didn’t know when she would see him next. In the midst of all her anxiety, tears started falling once more.

She wept for a while and walked towards the old steward’s office. However, she didn’t make it far before she remembered that Richard was about to leave once more. The old steward would likely be by his side, only having time to see her after Richard left Norland.

……

Late in the night, Coco lightly rapped at the door to the old steward’s office. While it was already very late, the man’s office was still lit up; he didn’t sleep until around one in the night, waking up at six the next day. This work schedule had been maintained for several decades.

The office was quite narrow, with all sorts of documents piled up high occupying most of the space. The old man gestured for her to sit in front of the table, reading through a few documents in his hands before looking up and waiting for her to explain why she was here.

“I… I want to ask about Father and Brother…” Coco said on tenterhooks.

The old steward shifted his glasses and said slowly, “Have you not been exchanging messages with them?”

“I have, but the letters all say that they’re not in a good state now.”

“Wait a moment.” the old steward took out a document from the cabinet, opening it up and reading through before nodding, “Yes, that’s true. If your father cannot pay his debt in three months, his fief will be taken over by the local parliament.”

“I hope… to borrow some money from the family to help Father through this.”

The steward turned back towards her, “You know that will not solve his problems. Also, what can you offer in compensation? You have already used up all your credit.”

Coco looked down and whispered, “Let’s… Let’s talk about that afterwards. The money… I’ll come up with a way.”

“You have no way.” The old steward was very blunt.

Coco suddenly burst into tears and whimpered, “I’ve already done all I can! But now… Now there’s Rosie! How can I even compete?”

The old steward shook his head and sighed, taking out a piece of paper. He wrote a few lines on it quickly and signed his name, passing it off to her, “I believe this can help you hold on for half a year.”

Coco took it and had a look. This was a cheque for 2,000 gold coins, paid from the steward’s personal account.

“Ah, this won’t do!” Coco stood up. She knew that the old steward had never been corrupt and would often sponsor a few poor Archeron warriors and young knights with potential but no background. Erwin had been one of the recipients of his kindness. The man thus had practically no savings at all; this was likely all the money he had.

“Alright, take it! This is the last thing I can do for you,” he sighed, pushing the cheque into her hands, “As for you, learn well from Rosie!”

……

Richard had no idea about this incident with Coco, nor was there a need to. He was already back in Faelor, gathering all his followers and assigning missions to them on the large map of the Bloodstained Lands and the Sequoia Kingdom.

The bandits in the Bloodstained Lands had mostly been cleared out, but many fierce races had been demoralised by the Bloodstained Highway project and moved into the depths of the Bloodstained Lands that held more complicated and dangerous terrain. It would require time and patience to completely weed them out.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA