Book 4, Chapter 119

Return To Dusk(2)

As he sprinted between the rocky valleys, Richard noticed countless rifts in the earth that were spewing out a black fog. Some of them were belching up magma outright, the crisscrossed wounds revealing a plane so damaged it would never be able to support life once more.

He suddenly stopped in his tracks, quickly hiding in a shallow gorge. Not far away, a tomiller devil with golden-red hair walked out from behind a rocky mountain. Her glowing eyes seemed to be lit aflame as she constantly scanned through the environment, slowly closing in on his location.

Having met tomiller devils on his previous excursion, he had some basic knowledge of their body structure. The average height was 2 metres, somewhat tall for humans but nothing when compared to those of Daxdus. Their speed and agility were passable, but what truly set them apart was the immense strength that allowed them to wield heavy weapons with ease.

This one seemed to be younger than the ones he had met before, the flail she was dragging behind her lighter than with previous opponents. However, Richard still withdrew his aura completely and laid motionless on the floor. Every tomiller devil was a skilled hunter, and this one had obviously noticed his presence.

When the sound of the flail came to a stop, he didn’t hesitate in the slightest as he jumped up with the Book of Holding in his arms. A burst fireball shot out towards the tomiller devil in an instant, but she only flashed a terrifying smile that extended all the way from one ear to the other to reveal hundreds of sharp teeth.

The devil didn’t care about the fireball at all, just dodging its trajectory as she leapt towards Richard. The flail was still being dragged behind her, but it was the empty hand that rotated weirdly to attack. She started licking her lips, as though she had come across a great meal that she didn’t want to turn to a pulp.

It was only when the fireball crossed her that she felt the power of destruction within. She couldn’t react in time at all, screaming as she was drowned in the waves of fire. The abyssal flames powered by Richard’s truename were a mortal enemy of all devils, and she was no different. The viscous flame stuck to her body like a vicious beast swallowing her whole.

Richard quickly flipped through the Book of Holding, firing off two more burst fireballs in her direction. Still, her screams continued to ring out as she threw her flail away and continued to stagger towards him. Even with her flesh and blood burning away, she could still put up a fight.

However, a spark of lightning suddenly flashed in front of her that left her more frightened than the abyssal flames. With Extinction in one hand and Carnage in the other, Richard seemed to disappear from existence as a gust of wind lightly blew past her.

The tomiller devil came to a stop, stunned to see Richard standing ten metres away from her once more, mumbling something she could not make out. A thin line of crimson suddenly flashed on her neck, quickly expanding until there was no way to tell flesh from skin.

Her head rolled to the ground, completely frozen in shock. Web-like gashes spread across the rest of her body as well, tearing a hole into her chest before the headless corpse lost the last vestiges of its strength and collapsed.

Richard heaved a sigh of relief, cold sweat erupting from all his pores. He had just activated both Mana Armament and Lifesbane, expending more than half of his mana in only a few moments of battle. Such was his current focus in battle; all-out attacks that left him with no path of escape.

Slowly adjusting his breathing once more, he made his way to the devil’s body to collect the crystals and core. This one’s lack of strength was more due to her youth than her talent, so the core he gathered was of excellent quality. She was likely a talent back in Daxdus, but now she was nothing more than a hoard of resources. One more like this and he would be able to hold a lesser sacrifice. 

A few minutes of rest helped him recover to a point where he could move again. However, he would be forced to flee if he met another powerful enemy. Searching for a place to hide along the way, he eventually found a small cave he could cover up and meditate within.

His heart was still beating hard with fear and excitement. Less than a day from when he had arrived and he had faced two enemies who would easily have killed him only a few months ago. Richard had known this trip to the Land of Dusk would be much more difficult from the last, but he was already too exhausted to defend himself properly. Only the destiny crystal in his pocket gave him a sense of security, giving him some peace of mind.

Four hours later, he walked out of the cave and followed the crimson light towards his destination. However, this time luck was not on his side. He quickly found himself flanked by two enclave centaurs, leaving him with no room for escape.

Facing two enemies that were each as powerful as a saint from Norland was terrifying, but he knew he could not escape these natural hunters. He also knew there was no chance for him to kill them in a normal fight.

He breathed in heavily, putting all three of his swords on the floor as he held tightly to the Twin of Destiny and his eyes widened. A wild thought was flowing through his mind: blood for blood!

He immediately augmented a chain lightning spell with Sacrifice, sending a crimson bolt as thick as a tree-trunk barrelling through the centaur on his left. These warriors normally had enough magic resistance to shrug off an attack from a level 16 mage, but that underestimation immediately cost him his life.

The centaur on the right let out an astonishing howl as it continued to charge towards Richard. However, Richard did not flee as expected, instead activating Lifesbane to welcome the attack.

*CRUNCH!* Richard felt his bones cracking as his left arm was crushed in an instant. However, the clash had bought him just enough time to open his mouth and blow out a translucent wave of fire.

The enclave centaur smiled coldly at the flames blown towards him— all warriors of Daxdus had some amount of fire resistance. A quick wave of his hammer created a powerful gust that would blow the attack away.

However, things did not go as expected. The abyssal flames passed right through the shockwave to land on his attacking arm, taking less than a second to burn it clean off his body. Before the centaur could even register the shock of the blaze, they had already spread to his chest.

The human-horse hybrid just looked down at the expanding wound in his chest, unable to understand how such a feeble fire had so much power. This would be his last doubt; all six of his pillar-like legs gave way from under him as he collapsed.

Richard fell back himself, barely able to sit back up and take stock of the situation. His face had flushed an unusual red, the insides of his body burning with a sulphurous smell. Without the strength to harvest the corpses properly, he barely dug out their hearts before fleeing to find a place to hide.

His left arm had been crushed completely. He was still a week away from the capital of the Unsetting Sun, but as he was now there was no way he would reach it. Finding a place to hide, he gave in to his fatigue and fainted.

It took three days before he woke up, his stomach threatening to burn through itself in his hunger. As he suppressed a yawn, his mouth almost bit down on his own hand in search of food. Feeling cramped from the pain, he looked around and started to lick off even the moss covering his weapons!

As he tried to prop himself up to go look for food, he felt an acute pain from his left arm. It was only then that he recalled his arm had been shattered, but checking its condition he realised that the bones had mostly recovered. It still felt like there were a few cracks, but the pain was nowhere near as bad as when he had staggered his way to this cave.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: ML

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA