Book 4, Chapter 66A

Embracing Fate

The darkness of the night was suddenly torn apart by amber light as a full moon condensed in mid-air, gently rising into the sky. The Nightwind warriors obviously recognised the second moon of the rainbow, but they didn’t understand why it had appeared at this time…

Nor why it was only three metres away! It was too late when they noticed Richard standing quietly under the dazzling moonlight; a deep crimson had already mixed into the yellow scattering from his hands, winding around his body to form a ring of light that was an entire ten metres in diameter.

Secret sword of the second moon, the Ring of Fate. The ring of light cut through the barbarians of the Nightwind Tribe, splitting them all in two. The top halves slipped off, faces frozen into the expressions they had just before death.

When the light dimmed once more, a desolate horn finally rang through the plains. The silence of the darkness was broken by heavy rustling as the survivors on the outer edges escaped.

Richard swung Extinction a couple times, but there was no blood to be removed. The sword had been transforming silently as he wielded it; now it was never stained by an enemy’s blood unless that enemy was truly powerful. He sighed, forcing the lava in his eyes to cool off before walking to where he had been and putting the sword back in the sheath that was still buried in the ground.

He then sat down to meditate once more, unaffected by the thick odour of blood permeating the air. In the meanwhile, no animals dared to get close to this place, as though it held a mortal enemy.

Three hours later, the dark clouds in the sky quietly dispersed to reveal another starry night sky. Having recovered most of his mana, Richard got up and continued heading in a straight line towards the centre of Klandor. There wasn’t much time left, and to him there was little difference between night and day.

……

The distant forests rumbled as the earth mourned. A young girl was dashing madly through the woods, hugging an enormous egg that was almost half as big as herself. The towering ancient trees constantly fell behind her, a violent fog surging ahead as a mountainous body twisted around in mad pursuit.

Numerous heads flickered in and out of view a hundred metres in the air, occasionally roaring with rage. These roars seemed to shake space itself, making the air roll in all directions. The forest was already in chaos, birds flapping as hard as they could while the beasts could only dash forward in an attempt to get as far as they could. Only the most fearsome of creatures could bear the power of these roars, the rest falling from the sky or otherwise crumbling down in fear.

Meanwhile, the girl continued to run faster and faster, occasionally kicking aside a pile of paralysed beasts in the way. However, no matter how quickly she ran the tremendous beast in the fog was still hot on her heels. Every step of its enormous feet shook the earth, bouncing the paralysed animals a few metres high.

Only when day broke did Mountainsea finally get out of the forest and enter the plains, cheering as she sped up instantly. All she left behind was a cloud of dust.

The row of trees at the outermost ring of the forest toppled down, flattened by enormous feet. The large beast finally revealed its true self, four pillar-like legs supporting a body that was nearly a hundred metres tall. Nine heads grew out of its torso, each looking different from the rest as they rose hundreds of metres higher in the sky.

The giant hydra gazed in the direction Mountainsea had escaped too, loosing a cry of helpless rage before it whipped its tail around. Countless ancient trees were sent flying away, but after tearing into the woods for some time the creature begrudgingly turned and slowly returned to its original location.

……

Morning finally arrived, the red clouds covering half of the sky giving Klandor a distinct colour. Birdsong and beast howls rang out everywhere as the entire continent awoke, recovering its vitality once more.

Richard continued to move with unerring pace, breaths long and careful. The terrain slowly grew steeper under his feet, the winds more vigorous. The whistle of the breeze was desolate, like the warcry of an ancient barbarian tribe.

Ahead of him was an enormous ancient tree, most of its trunk marked by the vestiges of time but the branches at the top still having some green. Just like all the other life on this continent, it survived tenaciously in the face of numerous difficulties.

Under the tree was a barbarian youth, neither tall nor sturdy compared to the other barbarians Richard had seen along the way. However, every muscle of his body seemed to be dense as steel, his physique looking so hardened it almost seemed inorganic. The youth was dark-skinned unlike the more yellowish-brown of most barbarians, his eyes narrowed as he gnawed at a straw while half-awake.

Richard halted his footsteps, eyes fixating on the youth. A grim expression flashed across his face for the first time, a trace of determination hidden within. For his part, the youth didn’t seem to notice him at all and still leant against the trunk, twisting the straw in his mouth as his gaze wandered around everywhere. It was when Richard’s eyes shot out faint light that he let out a low moan, jumping up as though he was pricked by something.

The youth’s feet plunged into the ground, as though his body weighed several tons. His expression changed from one of rumination to an earnest, sharp gaze, levelled straight at Richard’s own.

He suddenly bowed seriously to Richard, displaying the standard etiquette of the barbarian tribes. He then stood tall once more, body as straight as a spear, “I am Balibali of the Skymist Tribe. I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”

“Not bad,” Richard answered, “You’re much stronger than those stupid top seven, top three, and best warriors.”

“You mean those small tribes like Windstep? There aren’t many powerful tribes in the Windy Wasteland, how could they compare to the Skymist Tribe? I do not need any titles. As long as I remain standing, the rest can only strive for second place!”

Richard smiled, “Weren’t you afraid those small fries would take care of me while you were waiting and steal the glory of defeating the promised person?”

The barbarian youth flashed a smile of his own, revealing snow-white teeth, “If those weaklings could defeat you, then there is no honour in that victory. That is why I was waiting here. I refuse to believe someone chosen by Her Highness Mountainsea would be so weak as to lack the ability to come this far.”

“Well then, here I am.”

Balibali’s gaze suddenly grew electric, “But this is as far as you go!”

“Another challenge? You’re a level 18 warrior,” Richard said dully.

Balibali’s handsome face instantly turned pale, “How old are you?”

“Eh, about nineteen.”

The barbarian looked distressed, brandishing his fist as he exclaimed in a low voice, “Alright, I’ll limit myself to what you call level 15. We barbarian warriors never fight unfair battles! If you win, I will not hinder you again, nor will I participate in the battle four years later.”

“You’ll regret it if you don’t go all out,” Richard said mildly.

Balibali narrowed his eyes and looked Richard up and down, frowning, “You are only a level 14 mage.”

“Don’t you people believe level isn’t a good measure of a warrior?”

“Alright then,” the youth said promptly, “I will give you the respect of a true warrior and fight at full strength!”

Richard stuck the elven sword and Extinction into the ground, about ten metres away from the opponent. Only carrying the Twin of Destiny in his hand, he solemnly faced Balibali as lightning flashed on his body.

Balibali was slightly confused, more so because a mage had two swords than because he was sticking them in the ground. Still, he waited for Richard to finish all preparations before drawing the sword by his waist, slowly pointing forward. Compared to the heavy greatswords normally preferred by the barbarians, his weapon was long and narrow. It seemed like his style prioritised technique and speed.

He suddenly raised his sword and roared, shooting off his original position to appear before Richard in a single bound. His sword flashed right at Richard’s body, leaving him unable to dodge at all.

However, when the dazzling sword light passed, the figure in front just broke apart fuzzily. Balibali quickly turned around only to find four more Richards that looked exactly the same around him, left hand holding a rather plain-looking book and quickly flipping through the pages.

The barbarian youth cried out and his blade swung like a maelstrom, shooting out four rays of sword light. Three hit their mark, destroying the three remaining illusions, but Richard’s main body dodged it at the same time as a flash of lightning struck Balibali’s head.

Balibali immediately recognised the spell, gathering all the strength in his body as he prepared to shrug off the blow and continue pursuing Richard. The best way to deal with a mage was to close the gap as often as possible, and the barbarian was confident that his powerful physique could resist a mere grade 6 spell.

However, this lightning had hints of dark red within. The youth was stunned the moment it landed, his body trembling and his hair standing on end as he was paralysed. Richard’s movements sped up, the Book of Holding already stowed away as he flitted over to Balibali like the wind. Extinction had appeared in his hand at some point in time, slashing right at the enemy’s waist!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA