Book 4, Chapter 17

Men Of Miracles

Gaton had made an offering to the Eternal Dragon to adjust the Forest Plane’s coordinates, employing a legion of spatial mages with Lina in charge to add a lock to the passageway. However, these issues were not unsolvable if one had the resources. The Schumpeters alone didn’t have that ability, but they weren’t the Archerons’ only enemies.

The Dragon Mage’s expression darkened as she whistled out a tune, triggering the town bell that caused groups of soldiers to charge out of the barracks. Under the orders of their captains, they darted towards the teleportation gate. A short while later, a thousand soldiers were surrounding the forming portal. If those who came out of the gates were enemies, they would be struck down immediately.

Given her knowledge of the family’s condition, Lina knew that Richard could not afford to use a blessing to alter the time-flow and move a large army through the portal. More importantly, the teleportation gate on the other side would automatically send an activation message once the lock was opened. However, that gate was still quiet. All signs pointed to the idea that someone had opened a new portal to the Forest Plane.

Having set up the defences, Lina stared hard at the portal. She decided that it was likely the Mensas and Schumpeters working together in the hopes of snatching the Forest Plane back from the Archerons, but before that happened she was prepared to teach them a lesson they would not forget. It would be impossible for them to defeat the Archerons without paying a terrible price.

The portal finally began to fluctuate amidst the tense situation, and a squad of footsoldiers armed to the teeth slowly stepped out. Their bodies were protected by tower shields, and they maintained a tight formation as they moved forward. With this excessive defence, one could only take them out with crossbows at close range or a barrage of spells.

The moment these soldiers stepped out, they saw that they were completely surrounded with at least a hundred bows aimed in their direction. They were promptly startled, shrinking behind their tower shields and staying close together as they formed an arched steel barrier that protected the portal behind.

Lina saw the Archeron crest on the tower shields and relaxed, instructing the soldiers to maintain their calm and not shoot, but she did not order them to disperse. This could still be a scheme by the Mensas.

Following the heavy infantry were footsoldiers with the emblem of the royal family. Their unique armour was something that could not be replicated easily. Lina sighed in relief, knowing these really were reinforcements; the royal family would not take part internal struggles within Faust, only helping out the families in planar wars.

Still, the manner in which the reinforcements had come was different from usual. It was known far and wide that the royal family’s footsoldiers had lavish equipment, but the Archeron heavy infantry walking in front were far better equipped.

When had the Archerons become so wealthy?

The soldiers that had been on tenterhooks for the past few months instantly cheered. There were reinforcements, and the royal family to boot! Every new soldier walking out of the portal elicited another burst of joy.

It took a long time for the 500 royal soldiers to pass through the gate, and following them were 500 Orleans soldiers belonging to Agamemnon. These were particularly striking, the golden fleur-de-lis on their scarlet cloaks extremely striking. Behind the Orleans men came another group of Archeron soldiers. There were only ten in this batch, about the same as the number of heavy infantry at the start, but their equipment was incredibly grand. The resplendent magic rays could dazzle anyone.

Following that, five knights stepped out of the portal in single file. They had no Archeron crests upon their armour, but they stood together with the Archeron soldiers. Their tall, sinister mounts left everyone feeling a chill run down their spines.

“Rune knight!” someone suddenly shouted, and a cacophony erupted from amongst the onlookers. The horses had all had striking lines of magic running across their fronts, clearly rune lines. Only rune knights could possess mounts with runes!

Rune knights had become an embodiment of victory over the past millennium in Norland, a pillar of support that the ordinary soldiers relied on for morale. Countless battles in history had been decided when rune knights were dispatched, so as long as a group of rune knights made their move, the soldiers’ morale would not die down so easily. Seeing a whole group of rune knights appear, all of the soldiers immediately burst into earth-shattering cries of joy. They would finally be able to chase those monkeys back into the forest!

As fierce as the 700 elite soldiers were, they couldn’t compare to the morale boost this small group of rune knights brought to the soldiers. This was true even if the former could kill a group double the size based on numbers alone. Even Lina covered her mouth in her disbelief!

She had never expected such large-scale reinforcements, but a sudden hint of worry overcame her mind. Had Richard asked a favour of the royal family? This wasn’t impossible considering his status as a royal runemaster, but the dangers of such an act were far greater than asking for help from another of Faust’s families!

However, her thoughts were broken when Richard’s followers started streaming out of the portal. Tiramisu, riding on an enormous mount, caused everyone to cry out involuntarily. His second head was halfway grown, and his heavy armour and a terrifyingly large flail made for a show of his formidable strength. The mount between his thighs was even more frightening than the ogre himself, emitting a faint pressure like an earth dragon passing by. It felt as though it could destroy the portal at any moment.

Richard, Flowsand, Nyris, and Agamemnon came last. The divine unicorn immediately attracted all of Lina’s attention, almost causing her to shout. Even in Norland unicorns were rare, known for how difficult they were to tame. The boy had gone and gotten himself one without a word!

Richard jumped off the unicorn and walked towards her with a smile, “Lina, it’s been hard on you.”

“Ah, no, it’s nothing!” For some reason, Lina felt her heart pounding; his clear gaze left her flustered.

In that moment, Richard had looked far too much like Gaton, to the point that she was nearly dazed. Not only were his expression, movements, and tone similar, the aura he radiated of having everything in the palm of his hand was much the same as well. Of course, there still were some difference. Gaton was a domineering man, looking down on others without inhibitions. In comparison, Richard was more gentle and cryptic.

However, there was one thing between them that was the same. They were both men of miracles.

Richard pointed behind him and said, “The one who’s almost prettier than you is Fourth Prince Nyris, and the fellow who won’t ever open his mouth is Agamemnon. They are comrades who will fight by our side from now, and will take a third of the profits combined.”

Lina smiled as she greeted the two, the shock in her heart only growing. She had no objections to such a collaboration, and was even slightly relieved; these fellows were here as business partners, not as Richard’s lords. She was quite familiar with the situation in Faust, and these two had made a name for themselves already. The fact that they were willing to come to the Forest Plane the last time was already surprising, but now they had thrown their elite forces here to work on developing it together and still only wanted a third of the profits! This was unimaginable!

Of course, she couldn’t ever have imagined that this third was Richard giving them more than they were immediately worth.

With Richard, the Archerons had finally become wealthy.

Emerald City was not small, more than large enough to contain the less than a thousand people that Richard had brought with him. Still, night had fallen by the time everyone was settled down. Richard chose not to rest, beginning with the preparations for the impending war. He reorganised the troops and re-worked the system for sending out commands.

The preparations lasted an entire week, during which Richard had Olar return to Faelor and bring along ten elite humanoids. The process went on without a hitch; outside of another inexplicable delay in the teleportation, no side-effects could be found. There were no bats coming along; the natives of the plane were far too good at archery.

Ever since he discovered that Phaser could traverse the planar passageway without issue, Richard had decided to ignore the burn in his pocket to bring a few elite humanoid knights over. These fellows were more useful than Phaser in many ways; although their personal combat power was lacking compared to hers, they were excellent relays for his commands. This way, he would be able to know the battlefield like the back of his palm.

He’d personally experienced the situation in the plane over the last four days, personally taking a few places and even causing a small-scale conflict. This led him to realise that the walking woods were the worst enemy. The forest here grew abnormally fast, young saplings turning into towering trees in less than a year. The elven natives could even urge the trees to move, and use their crowns as camouflage.

It was incredibly humid and cold in the Forest Plane, with a generally constant climate. At the very least, Lina hadn’t sensed any change in seasons over the past year. The troops from Norland obviously weren’t used to this weather, but the locals were like fish in water. The forest was rapidly growing towards them as well.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA