There had been no mention of getting a priest to heal Zangru. The youth had divine blood flowing through his veins, giving his body a natural healing factor that was faster than spells from most priests. The seemingly ordinary chains were actually imbued with the power of divine punishment; the injury they caused was not something clerics could help with.
Night slowly fell, shrouding the magnificent city of Baruch. The golden walls of the mountainside palace shown splendidly as the sun set, radiating its millennia of history over many generations of kings.
Zangru, dressed in pure black robes and hair now cut down to shoulder length, appeared at the entrance to the palace. As he showed the king’s token to the guards on duty he was allowed to pass without issue; the guards had evidently been informed beforehand. Only a young guard couldn’t keep his mouth shut, “Who are you? Daring to break into the pal—”
His mouth was covered before he could finish. “Hold your tongue! Do you want to die?!” the old captain of the guard whispered in the youth’s ear.
The guard whimpered a few times and suddenly stopped struggling. The captain suddenly felt something warm on his hands; a closer look down showed him that he was now stained with blood! The young guard suddenly seemed to gush blood all over, body filling up with numerous bloody lines. The flesh split into hundreds of small portions, each falling to the ground. The captain stood rooted in his spot, watching in a daze as the pile of flesh wriggled at his feet.
Nobody had seen Zangru make his move, but by the time they turned to look the black-robed figure gradually disappeared into the distance. His shadow seemed so enormous it could cover the entire capital.
A warm light was lit within a quiet courtyard in the palace. Many beautiful maidservants travelled back and forth in the midst of their work, one tending to a beautiful young woman who was removing her makeup.
Seeing the look of worry on the young lady’s face, the maid who was helping her spoke up, “There is no need to worry, Your Majesty, the King will certainly return victorious in this battle!”
“But of course,” the queen consort forced a smile. For some reason, whenever she looked at herself in the mirror she felt as though a black aura was shrouding her.
A loud crash suddenly resounded through the courtyard as the door was smashed out of its frame and thrown away. What looked to be an ethereal beauty in black robes walked over, causing the servants who ran over from the side hall to shriek and call for the guards. However, no matter how hard they shouted the palace remained completely silent. It was as though all of the soldiers had died.
Zangru took out the golden token and nonchalantly tossed it to the middle of the courtyard, rendering all the servants silent. The devilish youth then walked right in and stared at the pale consort who barely managed to stand tall, “So you’re Anwod’s most beloved wife?”
“I am the queen consort! Who are you?” The young lady tried her best to straighten herself and stand tall, but it felt as though a thousand little pins were pricking her.
Zangru slowly reached towards her breasts, eyes dancing with a mysterious grim flame as he chuckled, “It doesn’t matter who I am. What matters is that you’re mine!”
A mournful cry suddenly rang out from the consort’s hall, not fading for a long time.
In another part of the palace, a concubine who was favoured by Anwod had put on a servant’s robes as she tried to rush out from the halls of the harem. She nearly tripped over in shock when the miserable cries rang out in the distance, but managed to calm her breathing even as she walked even faster. She came from a long-standing family that had a deep network within the Kingdom, so she had heard of this news before the consort was caught. She was also well aware of past events and what would happen over the next few days.
However, a royal guard suddenly walked out of the darkness and barred her way.
“Move out of the way! Do you know who I am?” the concubine shrieked. However, even in the state of hysteria she did her best to lower her volume, afraid that the devil would hear.
The soldier remained expressionless as he said coldly, “His Majesty has ordered that nobody from the harem is to leave their halls in the coming week.”
“What, this is… an order from His Majesty?” The concubine immediately turned ashen. She then did her best to smile, revealing her most beautiful side as she produced a precious gem bracelet and pushed it into the soldier’s hand, “What’s your name? As long as you step aside, I definitely won’t forget you.”
“His Majesty has ordered that nobody from the harem is to leave their halls in the coming week,” the guard repeated once more, as robotic as a puppet.
The concubine slowly turned glum, scared out of her wits as she headed back towards her halls. Given her past, she knew the devil definitely wouldn’t let her go. She might survive the ordeal with her life, but the King definitely wouldn’t want her afterwards. All the luxuries she now held would be blown away like the wind.
In that moment, she felt as though the winds blowing over her were filled with despair.
The same stars were held aloft by the night skies, but those underneath felt varying emotions. Some despaired, others raged. Some worked on preparing for upcoming battles while others did as they liked. The eyes of the gods in the heavens and all mortals on the earth were focused on the Baruch Kingdom, a land that would soon welcome destruction and rebirth.
Sacrifices would have to be made amidst the flames of war. Heroes would blossom from the dirt even as uncountable lives withered away. No matter what the final result would be, this next month would be written down in epics that bards would repeat for millennia.
Such was the glory of war.
When Richard returned to Faelor, the priestesses of the three churches allied with him immediately asked for a meeting. Although he had urgent matters to attend to and the three goddesses themselves were incomparably weak, he still found the time for a short meeting. No matter how pathetic these goddesses were, they were native to Faelor. They would serve as the best of shrouds as he blended further into this plane.
It had been less than a year since his last wars and the priestesses had all advanced by a level, an indication that the faith they spread in Richard’s lands had been rewarding. From another perspective, one could imagine how hard-pressed the three goddesses were that even a few hundred new worshippers got them so excited.
His brows locked as they began the meeting, but as the priestesses continued on he visibly relaxed. Eventually his expression petered out into a neutral calmness, but it was obvious that he was in a good mood.
“So you’re saying the invaders will appear in the Baruch Kingdom in about a month?”
“A month at minimum,” Faylen nodded with certainty, “When the gods passed down the oracle together, they also joined hands to slow down the invasion to give us enough time.”
This was a huge surprise for Richard who had expected the attack to come the very next day. It seemed like the gods were the primary reason for the loss of time during a teleportation.
Another pleasant revelation was the location of the invasion. If he didn’t remember wrong, the Baruch Kingdom was the base of the Wargod Lutheris. With a greater god helming the defence, there would definitely be a huge ‘welcoming’ ceremony.
He took the map and spread it on the table to check the location of the Baruch Kingdom, failing to notice the slight trace of a smug smile on Flowsand’s lips. A short while later, he looked back up at the three priestesses who looked eager, “So the goddesses want…”
“While the power of our churches is minuscule, my Lady will not back down from a war that concerns the fate of the world. We will not fear sacrifice and pour everything we can into the defence!”
Richard nodded, “They truly are magnanimous.”
Faylen’s tone then changed to a more tactful one, “The goddesses are determined, but our power is limited. We are here to seek your help.”
“Me? What can I do?” Richard lost his smile.
“You are the greatest commander in the Kingdom and have a fearful army under your helm. We are not far from the Baruch Kingdom; if you are willing to send your troops, it will be an enormous contribution to the world. The goddesses will definitely remember your favour!”
Richard stroked his short moustache, looking grimly at the map before sighing, “I… I will have to consider this carefully. There are far too many enemies around me.”
It was a tradition on Faelor for churches to work together with the nobility to quash invasions. The invaders’ remains were offerings that would greatly strengthen the worshippers, while the nobles would be granted divine weapons and other benefits in exchange. However, the three goddesses were so weak there was no point in helping them. Richard’s army qualified to partner with a far more powerful church.
Faylen, Fermi, and Shea tried repeatedly to persuade him, but it was all to no avail. Richard was unmoved, refusing to consider the idea of sending out his troops. In the end, the three priestesses exchanged glances and could only leave.
“Why didn’t you agree? This is a good chance!” Flowsand asked from the side.
Richard smiled, “It’s fine, they’re in more of a hurry than I am. How could it be so easy to make me send out my troops. Just wait, they’ll come back soon enough with more to give.”
“Scoundrel!” she exclaimed, but hugging the Book of Time she yawned and headed back to her room for a nap. She was exceptionally tired today.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA