Book 4, Chapter 36

This Is Life!

Richard steeled himself, reading through the information from the broodmother in detail. This new seed wouldn’t be a completely independent being, instead sharing its soul with the broodmother. It too grew by absorbing power, but it would be limited to two-thirds the power of the main body. The greatest advantage was that it could be placed in another plane; it would be a huge weapon in planar wars. The ‘small price’ that the broodmother had talked about was mentioned as well, marked as merely 10,000 magic crystals and 500 units of divinity.

Merely… Richard shelved the matter immediately.

One thing worth getting excited over was the fact that the broodmother would reach level 7 soon. She would probably have evolved once more by the next time he returned to Faelor.

Having dealt with the broodmother, Richard called out to Gangdor in his mind. A mountainous figure charged over in the next moment, giving him a bear hug that nearly knocked the breath out of him. He had to struggle out of the brute’s grasp, sizing up his steely muscles before punching his chest with a huge chuckle, “Were there any problems when I wasn’t around?”

“We fought a few rounds against those brats from the Iron Triangle Empire. Those fellows kept wanting to put their dirty paws on our trade route, so I obviously wouldn’t hold back at all. I fought them off every time, cutting down about 3,000 of their men in all. We lost 1,500 ourselves.”

Richard checked the numbers of the humanoid knights in his mind and found that there were only 1,200 right now, a hundred less than he had expected. “So many casualties,” he frowned, “It’s been hard on you.”

Gangdor scratched his head in embarrassment, “I did my best, but no matter how much I try I can’t copy you, boss. On top of that, those fellows are sending so many every time.”

“Oh? Who’s their commander?”

“Some fellow called Valen came most of the times, and that Salwyn fought me once too. I was careless and got surrounded by him… Damn it, that fight was really hard., most of our deaths came that day. Still, I managed to force him away in the end. Bah! Who said that the bastards from the Iron Triangle Empire aren’t afraid of death?!”

Richard was rather surprised, “You managed to force him to retreat? How many more troops did he have?”

“Less than two times ours.”

“Then how did you make him run off?” Richard asked. In a one to two fight without the broodmother’s troops supporting him, even he wouldn’t guarantee a victory against Salwyn in a direct confrontation. His control of the battlefield emerged from two basic qualities: the exceptional power of the drones and the ability to control them like they were his own limbs. Gangdor definitely didn’t have the latter.

The brute snorted, “That kid has the guts to show off when fighting and stand on the roof of his carriage. I didn’t care for his men and just took a troop of knights to kill my way towards him! If I didn’t cut that fellow down, I wouldn’t let myself return alive. The brats are stupid, we got through their formation and he immediately ran away.”

This news left Richard speechless for quite some time. He then patted Gangdor on the shoulder and sighed, “He was out of luck to have met you.” Gangdor was basically trading a blow to the shoulder for one to the thigh, but Salwyn obviously wouldn’t accept a mutual death. Even if the likely result of that charge would have been the brute’s death, the prince wouldn’t dare to bet on his luck.

It wasn’t too long ago when Richard and Salwyn had fought a desperate battle at Bluewater, and now that Richard wasn’t in Faelor he had been defeated by Gangdor’s unreasonable tactics. The Iron Triangle Prince was quite talented and powerful, but it seemed like he lacked fortune.

Richard looked at the time, “Gangdor, get a cavalry battalion prepped, I want about 2,000. Since I’m back, let’s go around the Empire as per usual and teach them a good lesson!”

Gangdor brightened up, grunting his approval, “Are we leaving now?”

Richard laughed, “How can it be that fast? Don’t be in such a hurry, we should prepare properly. We leave in two days.”

He then accompanied the brute towards the barracks, wanting to see how his army was doing. Halfway there, however, he saw Io rushing over towards them. The glow in the battle priest’s aura had died down a fair amount, but he seemed more calm and dignified now, emanating wisps of bloodlust.

Richard stopped and looked him up and down, asking with shock, “You’re going to break through again? That’s pretty quick!”

The priest didn’t even bother with him, gaze focused on Flowsand instead. “You’re finally back!” he said with a smile.

Flowsand sighed, sensing that trouble was approaching.

Just as expected, Richard strode forward and placed himself between her and Io, “I call the shots regarding when she comes back. So, level 15 battle priest, shall we trade insights on the Church’s martial arts?”

“Nothing would make me more happy!” Io answered immediately. The battle priest seemed to forget his original goal in an instant, heading towards an abandoned room on the side. Looking at his retreating back, Flowsand felt like he had succeeded in some plot.

Richard followed him in, his own smile having a scheming air to it. His comprehension of the Church’s martial arts could not be compared with Io’s, but things were different now. His second consciousness had been working on simulations at all times, allowing him to achieve a level of mastery over it that was only boosted by his visit to the Land of Dusk. He was certain that he would give Io a huge surprise.

The door of the room closed loudly, leaving Flowsand and Gangdor outside. Io could be heard shouting for an instant, following which clangs and thuds everywhere. The vibrations from the room only lasted a short while, however, before the world regained its peace.

The door opened with a creak, and Richard walked out. The future saint runemaster now had tattered clothes, a bruised face, and an eye that was so swollen he couldn’t even open it completely. His lips curved in a smile at the sight of Flowsand and Gangdor, but even they were so bruised that the pain caused him to suck in an icy breath. His swollen grin warped strangely.

Io did not follow.

Gangdor immediately shouted, “Boss, where’s the kid?”

Richard chuckled and pointed behind with his thumb, “He’s fainted inside!”

Flowsand gritted her teeth and cast a few healing spells in succession on him, something that was quite a waste for such superficial injuries. Richard grinned proudly and openly pointed inside the room, “He’s blacked out there, heal him too!”

“No!” Flowsand exclaimed angrily, “Since he’s so good at fighting, he can heal himself!”

Richard burst into laughter and drew her close, not caring for Gangdor’s presence as he kissed her roughly on the lips. However, his own swelling had yet to go down; the hard kiss left him drawing sharp breaths. Flowsand felt both annoyance and heartache; as though she had an endless supply of divine power, she cast spell after spell on him.

This incident left him unable to go to the barracks anymore; even with the healing spells, he would still need time to recover. It wasn’t a good idea for a commander to look so pathetic in front of his troops. “Go make preparations,” he said to Gangdor, “I need some rest!”

Gangdor laughed sneakily, his strange voice leaving Flowsand’s face turning red. He immediately slipped away in fear, leaving the priestess to realise that she was left alone with another sort of brute.

The premonition came true. Richard ignored her struggles and protests, carrying her to his room and kicking the door open. “Richard, you shameless bastard!” a voice raged from where the fight had taken place, but no one was around to hear it.

……

Richard was lying on his back with his limbs stretched wide, huffing wildly as he felt more exhaustion than he had after the battle with Io. Flowsand was snuggled up to him, lightly tracing his chest as she snorted. When it came to ‘fighting techniques,’ she was still his superior.

“How did you defeat Io?” she suddenly asked lazily, “It went much faster than I expected.”

“That guy thought his techniques were much better than mine, so he wanted to end the battle quickly and charged over right at the start…”

“And then?”

“And then I knocked him unconscious!” Richard chuckled innocently.

Flowsand was startled, “What? He got beaten down right when he charged over? Then…”

“After that… Well, I was just collecting some interest.” Richard laughed.

Flowsand sighed, saying begrudgingly, “Don’t do this again!”

Richard nodded hard, “Don’t worry, I promise not to get so hurt in the future.”

The annoyed priestess’ hand started to slide downwards, causing him to panic and shout, “Hey, that’s unfair… AHH!”

That was how their first day in Faelor had passed.

……

When the sun illuminated Faelor once more, Richard who was drained of all energy forced himself out of bed. Standing in front of the window and gazing upon the dazzling sunlight outside, he only had one thought… This is life!

There was one full day before they set off, which for both Richard and Io was enough time to rest. Richard had used dirty tricks in the battle, but a loss was a loss and the battle priest absolutely wouldn’t come up with excuses for his own failure. Io wasn’t planning to bother Richard once more either, that would just make him seem like someone without grace. He was now preparing to fight again when Richard reached level 14.

However, deep in the recesses of his heart, Io had no confidence in this future fight.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA