Book 4, Chapter 114

A New Lease Of Life

Richard felt like the world was spinning around him as he stumbled down the hill. He didn’t know how he managed to return to his residence, nor when he managed to get into bed.

It was already late into the night when he woke up. The alcohol was still coursing through his blood, leaving him with a massive headache, but he still managed to notice that his body was surprisingly clean. He had been washed and changed while he was out.

The realisation that someone was curled up against him caused him to tense for a moment, but as he saw Rosie stir and open her eyes he relaxed and started rubbing his temples. Trying to prop himself up caused searing pain in his temples, but as he groaned the young lady suddenly climbed atop him and pressed him back into the ground.

“What are you doing?” he asked as she disappeared beneath the blanket.

“Helping you loosen up,” a reply came from below.

……

A long while later, Richard felt his headache start to fade away. Rosie was lying next to him covered in the blanket, her thighs wet with a mix of sweat and other liquids. She had lost all ability to get up.

“That really was relaxing,” he said as he stroked her face.

“That’s great!” she stuck out her tongue, the action so adorable and suggestive he almost erupted once again. However, the knowledge that she didn’t have his stamina calmed him down. Seeing her at her limits, he just continued to trace his fingers across ger skin.

Rosie rubbed her face against his hands, giving him a knowing nod as her eyes began to close, “Do what you want. Yawn… I need a nap.”

He tousled her hair and kissed her asleep before quietly leaving the room. The chill of the winter night’s breeze eroded away the last remnants of his hangover, leaving him refreshed enough to call upon his unicorn and race towards the barracks.

By the time he covered the few kilometres of distance, Gangdor was already awake and barking out orders to gather the Norlanders who had been taken prisoner. The silence of the night slowly gave way to tense murmurs as everyone was pulled from their tents and sent to the middle of the training grounds.

This specific camp of the barracks was separated from the rest, placed under the guard of 500 drones and barred entry by anyone outside of Richard and his followers. Even now the throwers and humanoid knights gathered at the sides of the training grounds, eyes trained on the prisoners in case they started a riot.

Richard watched quietly as the Norlanders were gathered, but his unicorn was so eye-catching he was noticed regardless. Fear flashed in the eyes of those who saw his figure, their protests dying down completely.

Many of these warriors knew of Richard’s identity in Norland, and the fact that even the invincible Raymond Joseph had lost to him left them with great fear and reverence. Even if Richard had many times their number, none of these proud soldiers held Faelorians in any regard. In fact, the fact that Richard’s army had no Norlanders to speak of only strengthened their respect.

Richard continued to watch for another ten minutes, his calm smile slowly warping into a frown. Some of the prisoners of war limped their way out of the tents, while others even had to be carried.

“They’re all here, boss,” Gangdor walked over, axe in hand as he only stopped when he was a few feet away. His aura had already been unleashed, making it obvious that he was ready to fight at a moment’s notice. However, this was understandable; unlike most previous prisoners, some of those here could fight him even bare-handed.

“Why are there only 2,500-odd people here?” Richard turned to him and asked.

“These are all that are left. There were only a thousand soldiers left behind at the end of our battle, and even after two battles with the Baruch Kingdom I could only find so many more. Most of them had died to injuries or been killed by the Faelorians, especially the 500 men that had been left behind to guard the other injured.

A collective gasp rang out as the prisoners overheard Gangdor’s words. They knew exactly what fate awaited those who had been left behind, but it was still heart-wrenching to hear about the deaths of comrades.

Richard nodded and turned towards the prisoners, “Warriors of Norland, all of you are battle-hardened soldiers who have experienced many battles and realise the cruelty of war. This battle was between the Archerons and Josephs, it had nothing to do with you. Now the results are set, and your valour has been noted down in history. I acknowledge your bravery, so I brought as many of those forsaken by Raymond and the Josephs back as I could.”

He paused for a while, allowing whispered conversations to erupt. More than half of those here had been brought back from the verge of death by Richard’s priests and clerics; it was impossible for them to have no gratitude at all. Furthermore, it was the truth that this war was a feud between two families of Norland. Prisoners of war could surrender or be traded off.

Richard’s gaze swept past the training grounds, “Right now, I am giving you all a chance. A chance for freedom, a chance to return to Norland.”

An uproar was started in the crowd. The one thing that all these men wanted was to return to their homes. Countless fervent gazes fixated on Richard immediately in anticipation of his next words.

“Those who are willing to serve under my banner will obtain their freedom after five years. Once that period is up, you may either remain in Faelor and continue to earn your keep or head back to Norland for free.” He picked up a flag nearby and threw it a little ways away from the gathered prisoners. The flag arced through the air in the breezy night before sticking into the ground.

“Those willing to join me, gather around that flag,” Richard’s voice reverberated through the field. Several soldiers walked over immediately, and the rest slowly flooded over as well. Only a few dozen people were left behind.

Richard’s gaze swept past those left behind, and he immediately noticed that they were all level 14 or higher. The strongest three were even level 17, only one step away from becoming saints. All of these men had reached the requirements to become rune knights, so they were of different status from the rest. Nine of them were already full and proper rune knights, though they had lost their mounts in the battle.

Richard was in no hurry, staring coldly at these men while the humanoid knights mounted up and drew their weapons. If these prisoners made a move, they would immediately be surrounded and killed. His followers weren’t too far away either and would be able to quell any uprisings before they became an issue.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo