Book 4, Chapter 118

Return To Dusk

“Richard!” “Master!” “Boss!”

The moment they heard that Richard was going to a battlefield of despair, all of Richard’s followers started screaming. Planar wars were cruel enough when one led their own troops, but the battlefields of despair were places where you had to fight yourself. More than two-thirds of those who went there wound up dead.

If anyone present knew about the sheer terror of Daxdus, it was Richard himself. He understood from experience the cruelty of the battlefields of despair. It left him frightened. However, he had already decided to go. He felt around in his pocket and touched the last destiny crystal, regaining his confidence once more.

He then looked around at everyone and smiled, “Oi, what’s the fuss about? I’m not making it that easy for you guys. I haven’t had enough fun in this life, the pope and future popes of the three goddesses are still waiting for me to sleep with them.”

This immediately roused up the men of the group. “What’s the point of just the popes, boss?” Gangdor shouted, “You should sleep with the goddesses themselves!”

Olar’s eyes shone as he nodded in agreement, as did those of all of Richard’s other male followers. Even Io found himself inclined to agree— his disdain for the gods of Faelor surpassed his hatred of demons and devils. In fact, he would like nothing more than for Richard to burn all of Faelor’s gods with his abyssal flames.

A slight irritation appeared on Flowsand’s face, but now that she was the leader of the group she just hummed in annoyance instead of scolding him. Waterflower bowed her head down, her thoughts unknown, while Demi and Rosie just cheered along with the men. It was only the Dragon Mage that shook her head in silence, but she started blushing.

The meeting thus ended in chaos.

……

Richard slept for a day and night to restore his energy before quietly walking through the portal to Norland at dawn. A rare thunderstorm rocked the Bloodstained Lands that day.

He only stopped in Norland for a short while before immediately heading to the Orleans island, talking to Agamemnon for a bit to get permission to use their portal to the Land of Dusk.

As this was a confidential journey, Nyris did not come to send him off. Agamemnon just hugged Richard tightly and whispered by his ear, “Come back alive, or I’ll have no choice but to take care of your women for you.”

This ‘blessing’ left Richard laughing so hard tears formed at the corners of his eyes. His women weren’t as simple as people would think; any such intentions and this friend of his would likely end up dead. Still, he responded to the joke in good faith, “You should look for a few yourself! If you die now, there isn’t even anyone for me to take care of.”

“I’m trying!” Agamemnon replied. The two laughed once more, sharing one last hug before Richard entered the portal.

Agamemnon stood rooted in place for a long time after the light of the transmission disappeared. Anything could happen in the battlefields of despair, and even the strongest of warriors could meet their end. He didn’t know whether he would be able to see that smile once more.

……

Richard staggered into a dark hillside as the light of the portal disappeared, his surroundings immediately covered in pitch darkness. Fireflies that had hidden from the bright light slowly started to take flight once more, covering his surroundings with a very dim light. Looking around and finding himself safe for now, he sat down and quietly waited for the dizziness from the teleportation to fade away.

Once he was able to explore again, he quickly found out that he recognised some of the local topography. He had wound up in a familiar area. Last time it had taken ten days to get to the capital of the Unsetting Sun, but without Beye he expected it would take him thrice as long. Thankfully, nobody had stopped him from bringing his staff and swords this time.

As his skill in melee combat grew, Richard had come to realise that the three swords he had served very different purposes that synergised well with his understanding of the Church’s martial arts. However, even though there was no real issue with mobility even with all four weapons on hand, he found himself starting to look more and more like an equipment stand than a powerhouse. He was looking for spatial equipment to store his things in, but hadn’t found the time to make a purchase yet.

He started to regulate his pulse like Beye had taught him, trying to eliminate the scent he gave off. He also picked up some moss off the ground for good measure, smearing it over himself and his equipment. He then walked into a cave nearby.

It took an uneventful half a day to make it to the other side of the hill. However, just as the dim light of the Land of Dusk shone upon his face, Richard felt a powerful gust blowing towards his back. His nose immediately recognised the familiar scent of a skaven, but with his eyes still trying to adjust to the light it was all he could do to jump out of the way.

The tunnel suddenly grew a thousand times brighter than before as a ball of light immediately flew out from his hands, filling the cave with bright white that caused the skaven to scream in agony. Its follow-up attack missed completely as Richard seemed to vanish from his original spot.

However, these rat-men relied more on smell and hearing for their vision than their eyes. The skaven leapt onto the wall in preparation for its next attack, high-pitched squeaks ringing out in the cave as its ears started to twitch in search of him.

The only problem was that Richard was prepared. An ear-piercing boom rang out in the tunnel as though a lightning bolt had struck the ground only a few feet away, the reverberation from the narrow walls drowning out the skaven’s attempts at echolocation completely. Richard himself felt his head start to ache, but took advantage of the chaos to attack the stumbling creature. The dagger form of Carnage slipped out of its jagged sheath, piercing through the skaven’s mouth up to the hilt.

The skaven cried out in despair, trying to bite down on the bone blade, but all it caused was a loud screech as its teeth ground against the divine weapon. Richard gritted his teeth at the noise and twisted his wrist, basically stirring the enemy’s throat until it stopped moving.

Sweat started to bead down his forehead and cheeks as he extracted his dagger from the skaven’s throat. A quick examination allowed him to sigh in relief— despite its bite force, the creature had left no mark on the blade. This was the first being of Daxdus that he had killed himself, but despite it being a mere soldier it had taken him far more effort than he would have liked. The skaven had no runes or equipment, but its sheer cunning to attack the moment the light shifted would have left many in a difficult situation.

Making sure that there were no more skaven nearby, he set a few alarm traps around the tunnel before beginning to dismember the corpse. This was a job he had grown familiar with on his last trip here, and with Carnage being a much more powerful dagger than the one he had before it didn’t take much effort. Skinning the creature to form a bag of sorts, he extracted its teeth and the black crystals from its body before cleaning up.

A slight swing of his arm threw the remaining blood off Carnage before he put it back into its main sword body, and he put the sack on his back before walking out of the tunnel. At the end was the same magnificent view of the dark earth and cloud-covered sky. A stream of beautiful lights still flashed over from many places, but now he knew that each was a battle of life and death.

This was a world of despair that was already dead. The bloody light that could shine through the sky was definitely capable of turning anyone crazy. He breathed in heavily, sensing the burning poison in the air before jumping down the cliff. Every few metres he dug his hand into the cliffside to slow down his fall.

Falling down for a minute, he started running towards the capital of the Unsetting Sun.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: ML

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA