Book 4, Chapter 77

Precursor

The guests all nodded with interest. A secondary plane was more valuable than any tangible treasure; even after splitting amongst many families, the benefits it would pose were sure to be satisfying.

Raymond lowered his voice, “Richard just returned from the Forest Plane. If we attack now, he will definitely be caught unprepared. If we can kill him on Faelor, that will decide everything once and for all. And if we cannot do that… Then destroying the foundations of his meteoric rise should give us the right to talk terms with him. This is why I insisted that we keep the Mensas and Schumpeters out of this.”

“Talk terms of peace, you mean?” A stern-looking middle-aged man frowned.

“Yes, for peace.” Raymond looked him calmly in the eye. In terms of individual strength, even ten Raymonds wouldn’t be nearly enough to kill him. However, the sheer imposition in the Joseph youth’s aura cowed him, “If we don’t manage to kill him off in this battle, we will face endless problems in the future. While we’ll have destroyed his base, a future saint runemaster could easily come back from that.

“Do you think we could actually kill Richard openly in Norland? As far as the Joseph Family is concerned, we cannot bear the wrath of Emperor Philip and Her Excellency Sharon.”

Everyone went quiet, allowing him to continue after some thought, “The only way we can kill Richard off is on Faelor or in the Battlefield of Despair. From the point of view of a family of Faust, leaving behind a runemaster loyal to the crown is not an unacceptable outcome.”

“Alright then, I agree.” The dignified man nodded. All the big names seated here understood what Raymond was getting at— one’s enemies didn’t only exist in foreign planes.

Raymond looked around in satisfaction, “Alright, the final inspection of our forces will commence shortly. All 30,000 soldiers, 50 rune knights, and 20 saints and grand mages will travel to Faelor, giving us an overwhelming advantage in terms of military force. Based on the Archeron Family’s recent purchases of equipment, I believe Richard’s army should have no more than 5,000 soldiers who can fight on par with proper soldiers. He might have three or four saints as allies on Faelor, but that will not give him the power to contend with us.

“As for him being a runemaster, most of his runes have been handed over to the royal family. He will have five on hand at most. Thus, our true enemy in this battle is the natives of Faelor. Once they have been eliminated, we will need to find him.”

“One second,” the middle-aged woman in the group suddenly interrupted him, “The Archerons recently started enlisting rune knights publicly. The news has already spread through the Sacred Alliance.”

Raymond chuckled, “A simple lie. Richard is spreading the fear that he’s building a powerful army of rune knights to buy himself some time against anyone who plans to attack the Archeron lands. Time is the one thing he lacks the most right now; if we give him the room to breathe, I believe he truly will have a terrifying force under his command.

“Some simple calculations after considering just how many sets he has been sending to the royal family will tell you he cannot have many more on hand. In fact, five rune knights is already an overestimation. Besides, the Archerons’ lack of unity has been of great help to us. He doesn’t have many connections to call upon.”

The middle-aged woman nodded in agreement.

“Alright! Since everyone has agreed to attack, let us begin by retrieving the coordinates!” Raymond took out a bizarre alchemical machine and placed it on the table. It was exceptionally intricate, shaped somewhat like a magic clock, but there were about a dozen dials at the top each of which were divided into four zones with a gauge.

The guests exchanged glances and walked up to the platform one after the other, placing their hands on it. The machine grew brighter with each one, and when Duke Joseph joined in at the end a long beam of light shot towards the sky.

This beam seemed almost ethereal, breaking through the ceiling of the command centre and disappearing into the boundless skies.

……

One of the free Archeron warriors on Faelor suddenly awoke from his sleep. Looking left and right to see that the other soldier in his room was deep asleep, he mumbled something about going to the toilet and got up. The other low-level officer didn’t pay much notice and just turned over, continuing his slumber.

The night was quiet within Bluewater, the Lighthouse of Time that looked like a magic tower standing quietly in a corner of the city. If anyone were to attack the oasis city once more, they would find that this unique building truly had the abilities of a magic tower. Richard had transported a large number of parts to add the function long ago, but it could never be upgraded.

At the entrance to the lighthouse were two guards in charge of checking all entrants, both humanoid knights. These drones who lacked souls did not understand the concept of corruption, extremely strict in following their duties. They were the most optimal choice for protecting important locations.

Just as the Archeron warrior approached the entrance of the lighthouse, the two knights barred his way. “Warrant!” one of them said in a harsh voice.

“It’s here, it’s here.” The warrior made a show of rummaging around in his clothes, cursing at his inability to find it. He appeared to subconsciously take two steps forward, getting closer to the knights.

When he finally pulled his hand out, what appeared within wasn’t a warrant but the ominous glint of a dagger!

The dagger quickly stabbed into a guard’s abdomen, the knight widening its mouth but unable to make a sound. The warrior practically rammed into the other, reaching out to grab it by the throat and breaking the humanoid’s neck with a powerful claw. He then stole the enchanted sword and whirled it around like the wind, quickly thrusting it into the first knight’s buttocks, thighs, shoulders, and other areas that did not seem life-threatening. However, these few blows left the fierce humanoid stiff, halting all struggles.

He had fought beside these creatures many times and knew very well that they weren’t humans no matter how similar they looked. These were natural fighters, their weak points different from his own kin. Witnessing some of them die over the course of many battles, he had slowly understood their weaknesses and figured out how to stop them from raising an alarm.

The warrior quickly walked into the lighthouse and darted straight for the teleportation hall, taking care of four more guards along the way. He then took out a few magic crystals and smoothly placed them in the teleportation formation, activating it and stepping inside.

When the guards patrolling the outer regions were alerted and charged in, all they saw was the brilliant glow of an empty formation. The warrior had already disappeared.

……

The portal within the Church of the Eternal Dragon suddenly lit up and the Archeron warrior walked out. He looked composed as he headed for the exit, the paladin guarding the place looking at his crest and letting him go after some simple questions.

“Wait. What’s your name?” Noelene’s voice sounded out behind him just as he was about to leave, “Did Richard… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

The Archeron had thrust his hand into his own chest, taking out a tiny lavender crystal from within. A thread of golden timeforce circled within, shooting out like lightning once the crystal was crushed into the depths of the night skies.

Noelene immediately bound him in a prison of pale gold, his body floating against his will back towards the grand priestess. Seeing the wound on his chest and the crushed crystal in his hand, she immediately gasped.

……

At that very moment, the alchemical machine in front of Raymond suddenly flickered a pale gold. The needles on the gauges began to tremble violently, finally pointing out a number. When all of the needles calmed, a look of excitement formed on his face, “We have the coordinates!”

A short while later, the teleportation formation on the Joseph island flickered and his figure disappeared within. He was rushing towards his gathered army, prepared to lead them personally into Faelor.

A few nobles accompanied Old Joseph and stood by his side, not making a sound. While their gazes remained on the alchemic machine or the magic map, their minds were all stuck on one question. Faelor’s time flowed at ten times that of Norland, while Raymond’s life was nearing its end. Going to a plane like this was akin to suicide. If things took just a little too long, they would likely never see him again.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA