Book 4, Chapter 123

Allegations

“You’re afraid of her revenge? Don’t worry, I’m here. I can craft a rune that’ll turn her legs to jelly the moment she sees you. You can do whatever you want!”

Richard didn’t know whether he should be angry or amused. Were there even runes that did such a thing? Controlling the human mind was easier said than done.

“You’re still inexperienced in the world of runes after all! There were countless beauties back then who never dared to see me after I attached my runes to them. Hmph, it’s just that I did it to a girl I probably shouldn’t have. Well, that left me with no choice but to come to this god forsaken place, eh?”

This old fellow was clearly a bona fide pervert. Why else would he invent a rune that turned legs to jelly? Although his gaze made it clear that he wanted to be asked about this rune of his, Richard had no interest in the lecher’s machinations.

After staying another day to ensure Beye would be fine, Richard traded all of his spoils to Lawrence and left with a small sack of magic crystals. It had been less than a week since he’d left, but the Archeron island was much noisier than before. Just the morning of his arrival three batches of people arrived to ask about the private auction that would be held in two months.

While he left these things to the old steward’s discretion, there was one letter that sparked his interest. It came from a small family called the Nelsons whose head had obtained a lesser offering and wished to offer a sacrifice at the Church of the Eternal Dragon. Since all such applications had to go through the families of Faust, the earl had applied to the Archerons and mentioned that he was willing to offer 40,000 gold as payment.

40,000 gold was about 10% of the total cost of a lesser offering. However, this was the first time that Richard had come across such a request so he had to call the steward to make sense of the situation. The steward explained that this earl didn’t have much money, so he wanted to skimp a little on the tribute by going to the Archerons instead of any established family. His suggestion was to collect at least 15% of the cost of the offering, lest they become a public enemy to the rest of Faust’s fourteen.

Richard thought about it for a moment and agreed, “Alright, 15% for now. Raise it to 20% after three months.”

Having settled everything, he left the floating island for the Church of the Eternal Dragon. Nyris was already waiting with 5 million gold in runecrafting materials, a loan that would be paid back by ore from Faelor over time. Agamemnon was present as well, with twenty more rune knights in training and a hundred level 13 warriors.

The two immediately noticed his gloomy mood, especially when he visibly darkened at the sight of Agamemnon. “Richard! What happened?!” Nyris asked with surprise.

Richard shook his head, trying to erase the image of the dying Beye from his mind. “It’s fine,” he forced a smile, “I’m just growing too strong too quickly.”

Nyris nodded dubiously, “Right. Oh, by the way, will you need any help with Blackrose Castle? I can find a few saints to help you in secret.”

Richard laughed and shook his head, “Don’t worry, why wouldn’t I be able to deal with a bunch of clowns?”

“You’re in a bad mood,” Agamemnon piped up, fixing his gaze on Richard, “Is it related to me? Hmm… Beye?”

Richard hesitated for a moment, but he eventually nodded, “She’s hurt. Bad.”

The Orleans youth creased his brows for a moment, “Can she still fight?”

“It’ll be some time before she’s in peak form, but yes. However, she was on the verge of death.”

“That’s okay. If she couldn’t fight, she’d be better off dead. I’d avenge her when I go there next year.”

“Me too!” Nyris butted in.

“What?” Richard just looked at them with puzzlement. Both of them had great prospects ahead, it made no sense for them to take such risks.

“Only those who have been through the Battlefield of Despair can be considered true powerhouses!” Nyris said with a yearning look.

Richard’s expression turned a little strange as his hand rose awkwardly. If that was the case, wasn’t he a true powerhouse himself?

…… 

Richard’s new soldiers accompanied him to Faelor. With the Church of the Eternal Dragon about to withdraw its paladins from his island soon, those with stupid ideas would start jumping into the fray. He was looking forward to teaching the fools a lesson, but first he had to grow his strength.

Faelor was peaceful overall, but the Sequoia Kingdom was starting to scheme against him in full force. Gangdor had followed his instructions to become an iron wall obstructing the entry of the Kingdom’s troops. Those who didn’t heed warnings were beaten back, but as far as possible he tried not to kill or maim. Even the ones he arrested were eventually sent back. This gentle treatment left the nobles with no reason to attack in the open, so they became more active in their traditional battlefield.

Every few days a few of the nobles of the assembly were writing formal complaints about Richard’s domineering ways. The royal family had lost 10,000 people in the war against Raymond, including the crown prince, but Richard and his allies had lost several times that number. They believed this was the best period to wrest away control of the Bloodstained Lands, especially with the Direwolf Duke who backed Richard ending up dead.

As Gangdor and Io wiped out the bandits and slavers, the caravans could travel faster and with fewer guards. This meant greater profits from the trade with Forgefires, and Richard’s more than quarter share was too large for these people to ignore. The same nobles jumped onto the podium every day, raging about how the Bloodstained Lands were a part of the Sequoia Kingdom and a single viscount shouldn’t control more land than the rest of the kingdom. Needless to say, they all ignored the fact that this land had been conquered when he was a frontier knight. It was impossible for Richard to confirm that legally since they controlled the courts.

It was just that nobody paid attention to their hoots. The louder one was at the assembly, the fewer the soldiers they had. These fellows just hoped to apply enough political pressure to make him bow. Those with actual armies knew just how terrifying Richard was, and didn’t dare to antagonise him. Many of them had been there when droves of soldiers were beheaded by the invaders without issue. Only when Richard’s personal troops entered the fray did the situation veer in their favour. They could still remember the scene of more than thirty mounted saints rushing through the battlefield.

……

However, one day the situation in the assembly changed. An extremely young noble with unruly hair, pale face, and a skinny frame stood up on the podium, so nervous he didn’t dare to make eye contact with the audience below. His voice was dry and hoarse as he took out a thick stack of papers to read from.

Many people jeered at the clown at first, but as his stammering voice continued the assembly gradually fell silent. The nobles looked at one another with horror and shock.

The accusation only held one point: Richard was also an invader, and he came from the same place as the foreigners who had brought calamity to Faelor! This would normally cause an uproar, but the youth started listing out compelling evidence as well. For example, Richard’s core troops had equipment quite similar to the invaders in style. The standards of combat power of both parties were also about equal. Also, the two parties had spoken to each other right before the large battle.

The youth trembled with fear as he finished reading through the accusations, including many points of miscellaneous evidence. Although there were many fallacies in his argument, the number of coincidences were stacking up. Finally, he stated that more powerful evidence would be announced in half a month to prove his accusations completely.

The assembly fell into silence, all gazes landing on the young noble and making him even more nervous. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead, making it seem like he would faint the very next minute.

This fellow was merely a knight. Everyone understood that he was only a puppet used to relay messages. Someone else was behind this.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA