Book 4, Chapter 52

Bloody Battle

Lina pounced forward, grappling the child of the forest. Another light flashed and they appeared in the skies above, right in front of Kaloh.

“Kaloh!” she exclaimed, but the red dragon’s face flickered with hesitation. He opened his mouth, draconic flames forming at the throat, but he couldn’t bring himself to breathe out. This attack would cover both the child of the forest and the Dragon Mage herself.

The reason Lina could summon Kaloh despite not being at the legendary realm was that they shared a companion contract. The relationship between the two was more of a friendship than that of a summoner and their contract beast. Although she had some degree of resistance to draconic flames, she would still be severely injured by this attack.

“KALOH!” Lina started screeching. The child of the forest was struggling wildly in her arms, flailing around and biting her everywhere. His sharp teeth were tearing off flesh with each bite. The red dragon let loose an earth-shattering roar, finally releasing its pent-up breath and enveloping both of them.

Time seemed to freeze.

A short while later, two figures fell back into the forest. The Dragon Mage was left unconscious, but the elf actually jumped up and grabbed a nearby druid, plunging his hand into the elder’s heart. He extracted all of the druid’s vitality in a single moment, his own face turning rosy once more. He turned around, a cruel gaze sweeping across the opponents nearby as he prepared to flee into the forest.

“Did you really think you could escape?” a calm voice sounded at that moment. Richard was still as wretchedly calm as before, voice still wretchedly indifferent. However, he could barely even stand despite the support of his sword, riddled with injuries from head to toe. Blood was pouring out of his numerous wounds, forming a thick puddle under his feet.

The elven youth suddenly saw harsh rays of light being emitted from Richard’s sword. The very next moment, all of his nature energy and life essence started to boil, converging at his chest. He suddenly remembered a terrifying legend regarding the invaders, screeching in astonishment, “Element Extraction?!”

“Only figured it out now?” Richard sneered with disdain, reaching out to play with the edge of his nameless sword. The child of the forest moaned in desperation, rolling around with all his might but unable to stop his body from shrivelling up. In but a few moments, all that was left of him was a dried corpse.

He used the last of his strength to turn over, no longer moving. A dark, blood-red crystal rolled out from his mouth, travelling a great distance before coming to a stop.

Richard finally sighed in relief, unable to hold on further as he collapsed back to the ground. Miserable cries rang out as the surviving elves and druids lost all will to fight, retreating into the forest. Only a fourth of those who had lain in ambush were able to escape.

Lying stomach-up, all Richard could see was the pale green sky. He felt his body growing extremely light, his thoughts wandering as though somewhat separated from the mortal coil. He felt absolutely empty, but something still seemed to flow out. It left him nervous.

Countless images started to flash past his mind, many memories that he thought he had burnt away. The first decade of his life flitted across his eyes, every scene still vivid and fresh.

……

“Mother, what kind of person is Father?”

“Well, he’s a true man, a hero. He’s also the worst villain, someone I hate the most!”

“Why doesn’t he stay with us?”

“That’s a secret!”

“Tell me!”

“When the day comes that my Little Richard becomes a real man, mother will tell you.”

“Then how do I become a real man?”

“Beat your father!”

“Mm!”

……

A flash of light suddenly jolted him from his reverie, the glow of divine magic. His floating mind was pulled back to his body, now feeling incredible. As his vision started to work again, Richard saw an exceptionally familiar face in front of him, a priest that Agamemnon had brought with him. He seemed to be working hard to cast the healing spells, old wrinkly face so fatigued it looked like a flower trampled over in the snow.

He turned to his left, seeing Agamemnon making an expression of pain that he imagined was quite similar to his own. To his right, Nyris was as beautiful as ever, eyes closed.

“Are you two out of your minds? Is it fun to kill yourselves?” he scolded them weakly.

“Fuck you!” was Agamemnon’s response.

“Are you any better?” Surprisingly, Nyris was awake.

“Ah, fuck it!” Outside of cursing, Richard had nothing to say. He no longer bothered with the two maniacs, shouting to a royal guard in sight, “Oi, help me move, I need to check on that priestess!”

“Which priestess, Lord Richard?” one of the guards asked carefully, breaking out in a cold sweat.

“Who else? The one with the prettiest face!”

The soldier immediately helped carry Richard to Flowsand’s side. Her eyes were closed tight, breathing weak, but she still didn’t forget to give him the finger. Still, the corner of her lips were curved upwards in an irrepressible smile; she was obviously pleased.

Richard snorted, “Take me to the mage.”

“Which mage?” the guard asked. His future seemed even brighter.

“Obviously the one with the biggest breasts!” he responded, thus carried over to Lina as well.

“Hey. You’re still alive, aren’t you?” he asked, voice trembling.

“I still have dreams to achieve. How could I die just like that?!” Lina answered furiously.

He then had the soldier carry him once around the battlefield before returning to his original spot, placed on the grass once more. Although a little damp, this place was soft. To his left lay Agamemnon, to his right the Fourth Prince. He was at peace.

Richard suddenly burst into a giggle, and it was mere moments before Nyris did the same. Agamemnon eventually followed suit, three completely different types of laughter mixed together, echoing through the forest.

Next came dealing with the aftermath. A total of 130-odd soldiers had died on Richard’s side, almost every one of the rest injured to some extent. Another three of his fifteen rune knights were gone as well. On the other hand, the elves had left behind a thousand warriors, elevel druids, 130 treants, and one child of the forest.

The tree of life was likely too far gone by now, but that didn’t mean this was a wasted effort. The greatest spoils of this battle were the blood crystal from the child of the forest and his two-ended spear. That weapon seemed to approach the legendary grade, although how effective it would remain outside of the Forest Plane was still unclear.

A day later, Richard’s army set off to return to Emerald City. The harvest was sizeable; outside of the blood crystal, they had acquired dozens of treant hearts as well. Still, the entire army was silent as they crossed back through the forest.

The soldiers had cut down trees to make stretchers for those who could not walk, with Richard, Nyris, and Agamemnon each having their own. When their gazes met, the three just looked helpless and rueful.

Agamemnon’s intestines had been torn up, while almost all of Nyris’ ribs were broken. The child of the forest had also broken the prince’s arm when he tried to hold him back. Richard seemed much better off, the only problem being that he dropped back down to level 13. Having used Sacrifice twice in quick succession it would be strange if this hadn’t happened. Thankfully that seemed to be the end of it, but one could never be sure of the dangers of overdrawing one’s mana.

The best piece of news for him was that Flowsand’s eyes were fine. Thankfully Nyris and Agamemnon had brought enough clerics of their own, she didn’t need to help with the aftermath herself.

Silent as they were, the atmosphere in the army slowly relaxed. Eventually, one could even hear a few laughs sounding every once in a while.

……

Lina constantly fell in and out of consciousness once they returned to the city, the corrosive power behind Kaloh’s breath lingering deep within her body. Although she had some resistance to the draconic might, she was still far from able to take on the red dragon’s full-power breath at point-blank range.

All three core armies had been greatly damaged. Richard lost some Archeron warriors, while Nyris lost soldiers who qualified to become rune knights and Agamemnon lost some of his sanguinary guards as well. These were the most valuable assets of the three youths who were still building up their power.

A surprising eight of Richard’s ten elite humanoid knights had died. Although the broodmother would definitely be able to make more in the long run, he still felt depressed and upset about it. This would be the last time, he told himself, He had to grow tough more quickly.

Olar had kept his life, but would need to recuperate for even longer than the Dragon Mage. On the other hand, Flowsand had only been weakened, eyes recovering rapidly until they were perfectly fine in a few days.

The greatest loss this battle had come from the death of Scherr. Pamir’s display at the end of the display had been a disappointment as well; if not for Lina staking her life on the attack, they likely wouldn’t have been able to keep the child of the forest around until the element extraction took effect. Of course, the child’s life had been forfeit the moment Richard cut him with his sword; it was just a matter of whether they would get the blood crystal. Still, Pamir’s performance was quite normal. Even powerful families could not force saints and grand mages to risk their lives on the battlefield. Richard could only turn a blind eye, not criticising him at all. In comparison, the Dragon Mage had truly gone above and beyond her duty.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA