The Knight’s Stage
The nobles in the crowd were stunned. However, their hushed whispers were almost immediately cut off by a “But!”
Richard scanned through the assembly with an icy gaze, "In the name of the Goddess of Spring Water, the Goddess of the Hunt, and the Goddess of the Forest, I declare this knight a heretic. He is to be executed on the spot, and the church will be seizing his territory. His family will be stripped off all noble titles, sent to indentured servitude until they meet their end. This sentence will be carried out immediately."
The young knight immediately started trembling. Nobody had imagined that Richard would use the name of the goddesses to strike back so fiercely, giving no leeway at all. "It wasn't me, IT WASN'T ME! IT WASN'T—"
The ear-piercing shrieks were suddenly put to an end. The A bolt of blood lightning struck right through the escaping knight's back, sparks consuming him until only a charred corpse was left behind. A momentary silence engulfed the assembly.
"RICHARD! THIS IS A CHALLENGE TO THE KINGDOM!"
"YOU CANNOT KILL SOMEONE AT WILL!"
"HE'S AN INVADER!"
"Bring them here!" Richard started pointing at individuals in the crowd, his amplified voice easily drowning out the shrieks of the rest.
Fully armed knights rudely squeezed through the crowd, not caring for the nobles they knocked over along the way. "Le—Level 18!" an old man cried out in horror as he was thrown away. The cry was like a bucket of ice water poured over the rage of these nobles.
Everyone who had entered the assembly was a rune knight. Even the worst of them were equivalent to saints from Faelor, while those from Agamemnon and the defectors from Raymond's army were on par with Faelor's sub-legendary beings. The old knight who led the defectors was even stronger. This crowd posed no trouble to any of them in the first place, but now that their power was known nobody dared to stop them from catching four people and throwing them at Richard's feet.
Richard didn't so much as spare a glance, continuing to stare at the audience as he announced, "To claim someone who is chosen by three goddesses is an invader, such gall. Thankfully, I am kind; their families will be spared. However," he waved his hand.
There wasn't even a chance for anyone to respond as swords were plunged into these dissenters' backs.
The lords present started screaming once more. However, this time the only accusations were about him breaking the law of the kingdom. There was no mention of him being an invader at all.
"What right do you have to represent the goddesses?" a youth shouted bravely. However, a gentle voice rang out from the gates in response:
"I can testify that Richard Archeron is chosen by the three Goddesses, and is the executor of their wrath." Faylen was dressed complete with papal attire today, the long azure sceptre in her hand and the high crown on her head confirming her identity as pope.
The sight left the few lords who were still screaming incontinent. The presence of the pope of the Goddess of Spring Water meant the three churches stood in full support of Richard.
Now, accusing Richard of being an invader was no different from accusing the three goddesses of harbouring a devil from outside of Faelor. Any noble who did so would face the wrath of the divine, and those of the clergy would incite a war between deities. It wouldn't have scared anyone a few months ago, but the three goddesses had grown in power with the defeat of the invaders and could at least take a few others with them if they went down.
Still, an older noble showed extraordinary courage to step forward and point at Richard with fury, "Richard! They were mere puppets, the true mastermind hasn't shown himself!"
Richard rather appreciated such valour, even if it was misplaced. An era of constant war would give rise to many who were willing to lay down their lives. Those of faith especially just believed death was only a beginning. However, he still sighed a little.
"So? I certainly won't let the mastermind get away, but what does that have to do with them? A sin is a sin, and the one they committed was amongst the gravest of all. Don't think you'll escape my wrath just because you weren't the one who instigated it all."
Seeing everyone speechless, Richard smiled, "You people were having too much fun recently, the game ends now. Alright, the following people are considered enemies of the three Goddesses and their share of the Bloodstained Lands will be expropriated. They are also barred from entering any areas controlled by their churches, and their lands must be opened up for the clergy to spread the faith. Viscount…"
The list was rather long, including all sorts of nobles. Even an earl wasn’t spared the humiliation! The fact that those dissidents here were executed on the spot was enough warning of what would happen if someone were to refuse. Religious wars were always bloody and vicious, and this was no exception. All those marked out worshipped their ancestors or were followers of the God of Valour.
Of course, there was another way to interpret the list. These people were also the ones who had wanted to split up Richard’s share of profits from the Bloodstained Lands, and the most aggressive of the lot. Some of them had even interfered with the Direwolf Duke’s estate.
The list turned the ‘mighty’ nobles of the Sequoia Kingdom into quivering messes. His silence for the past month had made them more and more brazen in their attempts to wrest power and wealth from him, but now that he was baring his fangs once more they realised just how powerless they actually were.
Richard left the stunned hall and led his followers and the rune knights outside the assembly building, the five corpses still leaking blood on the stage. There was a bit of a ruckus outside, Tiramisu waving the warhammers in his hand to provoke a number of soldiers. With even their captain only being level 11, these men were scared witless by the sheer force of the ogre’s aura.
He got up on his unicorn and urged it forward, “What’s going on here?”
“They just appeared out of nowhere, saying we broke the law and demanding that we put our weapons down and surrender.”
“And you’re entertaining their nonsense because?”
Both of the ogre’s faces reddened, “I was just afraid of causing trouble for you.”
Richard nodded, “That’s true, these fellows do come from the royal family. It wouldn’t be nice to kill too many of them.”
However, a series of clops suddenly rang through the streets as a company of knights in silver armour and red capes dashed into the square. They came to an orderly halt, forming up in rows. Even the weakest of these new entrants was level 10, and the leader was a burly fellow who looked about level 17. “I am Bard, captain of the royal knights. I give you to the count of ten to drop your weapons, or you will be put to death on the spot!”
“Put to death?” Richard laughed, turning to Gangdor, “How long will it take you to kill him?”
A look of ruthlessness crossed Gangdor’s face, “A few buffs and he won’t last three blows!”
Richard turned back to the royal knights, “Okay then. They have 200 knights, I’m giving you 20. Go see how they plan to put you all to death on the spot.”
Gangdor flashed a sinister smile as he raised his axe and got up on his horse. “BOSS!” Tiramisu yelled in dissatisfaction, “I’m so much better in a fight. He can’t even beat Waterflower!”
Richard waved his hand dismissively, “Now, sending you would be bullying them too much, don’t you think?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hestia
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA