Book 4, Chapter 161

An Upstart’s Style

Although the wait for the rune knights to walk out wasn’t long in any sense, the wait still felt endless. When he finally heard the sound of footsteps rushing over, the aide actually heaved a sigh of relief.

“Your Majesty, sixty rune knights have crossed out. There still are more!”

This news wasn’t too shocking, but another set of footsteps rang out as someone reported that seventy rune knights had appeared.

And then it was eighty, ninety, hundred…

The final number was 150. The aide finally realised exactly what the Emperor had meant. Richard was announcing his ascent into the political arena of Norland. It was a different path from Gaton’s, but they were both similarly aggressive. This was the roar of a young dragon that had just come of age!

It was noon when Richard returned to Norland. Faust was completely silent right through the evening, only starting to bubble when the sun had set. The news quickly spread out under the cover of the night, arriving in all corners of the continent in a flash. Richard had already become the focus of the entire continent for a moment, feared, respected, and hated by too many people to count. Only now, Richard wasn’t someone a saint assassin could kill off, and legendary powerhouses wouldn’t dare touch him for fear of Sharon’s wrath.

Countless nightly meetings were convened to discuss a change in attitude towards the Archerons. The smarter ones began to gather intelligence on just how Richard had accomplished such a feat, trying to unravel the secret behind the rune corps that Richard seemed to have just summoned out of thin air. When morning arrived, someone had already concluded that he likely had a very high success rate and one or more capable assistants helping him.

Some people had sunk into absolute panic, unable to sleep the entire night. However, morning the next day scouts reported that the troops Sauron and Goliath were gathering at Blackrose castle had actually grown in number.

“The Archerons are just the Archerons,” Richard commented when he heard this news.

As Richard’s roar spread throughout the lands, it had an imperceptible influence in many areas. For example, some information that he had been seeking out for a long time was sent to his desk the very next morning. He sat in the study, going through the secret letters somewhat absent-mindedly under the gazes of his followers.

“Olar, we found out who it was that tried to assassinate me. This is the information on her family, give it to the Midnight Dancers. 5,000 a head should be enough.” The Midnight Dancers were one of the two biggest underworld organisations in Norland. They had hundreds of years in operation and were arrogant to match, only offering their services to those with true status.

Olar quickly grabbed the letter; he was the one who almost always handled these kinds of tasks.

The second piece of information actually surprised Richard a little. He read it over a few times before glancing at Lina, “It seems like Cardiff didn’t just take a fancy to you. He’s been quite close to Lunor, and apparently Lunor wanted your rune or at least its design to try and break the bottleneck of grade 4 runes.”

Lina couldn’t come up with any words in response. Thinking back to her prior experience and the words Cardiff had said to her, she felt a sheer disgust that made her entire body tremble.

Richard just tore the paper to shreds, throwing it into the wastebasket, “Eh, I don’t even know where that fellow is anymore after I drained him of all his money. Right now, I’m sure his life is more miserable than death.”

Richard picked up the third and last piece of information in passing, looking at it for a while and wanting to tear it apart, but eventually he passed it to Olar to keep safe in case there was an opportunity to use it. This was a list that recorded where exactly the offerings had ended up during the riot on the Archeron island. Some of the buyers were clearly unfamiliar with the situation, but once he was strong enough he could announce this and be compensated in some way or the other. The innocents could only be blamed for buying stolen goods.

His followers were starting to grow a little impatient. They had been on an expedition for the entire past year, but there hadn’t been any opportunities to march under Richard’s command. Those who had followed him from the start even sighed with regret on occasion, wishing they were back in the days when Salwyn’s hounds were chasing them all over the place.

Richard leaned into the desk, sweeping his gaze across the followers and flashing a smile, “Can’t wait anymore?”

“Of course!” Gangdor was still the most restless of them all, “Following you is best, boss! I only have to care about cutting people down, nothing else!”

“No need to be anxious, wait a few more days. Not all the pieces are here yet, and I also ordered some equipment that’ll only be delivered in a day or two. Two sets of epic-grade equipment for everyone, I’m being extremely fair!”

“What should we prepare for, boss?” Gangdor clearly couldn’t bring himself to care. So long as he had his axe, he was fine.

“Prepare? For these ants?” Richard smiled, stroking his beard that was now almost as hard as steel, “We’re just going to crush them!”

“Crush them! I like that!” Gangdor’s eyes lit up.

“I like that too!” a muffled sound echoed from outside the study, the door being slammed open as Tiramisu walked in. The ogre mage had already grown to more than four metres tall, making it impossible for him to cram himself into the castle’s passages, but now he only looked to be 1.8 metres tall. It was rather cute.

However, Richard’s eyes suddenly went wide with fear, “You… used a reduction spell?”

“Yes!” Tiramisu scratched his heads in ignorance, unable to understand what was wrong.

“YOU RETARDED OGRE! REDUCTION SPELLS WITHOUT ENHANCEMENTS ONLY LAST A MIN—”

*BOOM!* Dust filled everyone’s eyes as stones broke apart to accommodate the ogre’s return to his normal size. The two heads bumped into the ceiling, but the wood and stone clearly wasn’t sturdy enough to withstand the force and just broke apart as the heads immediately pierced through. The three eyes were still looking around in confusion, unable to understand why Richard and the others were suddenly gone.

There was a brief moment of silence.

*BANG!* Richard boosted a reduction spell so greatly the ogre ended up only a metre tall, looking like a plump doll more than a terrifying creature. He then raised his leg, kicking the fellow right out the window.

However, the study had already suffered a calamity. The energy and mana from the followers’ hurried defences glowed splendidly, but it was like a thunderstorm had passed through the rest of the study. All the wood had turned to splinters, all paper shreds.

“DAMN IT… Sigh, disperse, get some rest, don’t humiliate me during the battle, blah blah blah. Now out!” Shooing everyone away, Richard stood in the midst of the debris field with frustration.

This was the study Gaton had left behind. Perhaps he had left in a hurry, but many of the things still hadn’t been tidied up. The desk, chairs, map table, they were all in the same place, as though their owner would walk through the door in but a moment and continue planning his conquests. There weren’t all that many books and scrolls on the shelf, but each one was hand-picked. He had read through them so much that the parchment and paper were wearing away. The rarer ones covered in magic beast leather had grown shiny where he had thumbed them repeatedly.

He hadn’t realised for a long time that many of his habits were subconscious imitations of his father. It was difficult to tell exactly what made Gaton strong, but the man had the charisma to leave a lasting impression.

Now, it had all disappeared into thin air.

Looking at the desolation, he found himself quickly calming down. There was no sadness, no anger at the ogre’s mistake. It was as though the most normal of rooms had been ruined.

He suddenly laughed and shook his head, walking out of the study and instructing the butler to call someone to repair and renovate the place according to the highest of standards. As the man took the order and was about to leave, he suddenly called him back and corrected himself. The entire castle was to be overhauled, and the standard could be described in just two words:

Grand and majestic.

Seeing the steward’s stunned expression, he laughed, “Isn’t that the style of an upstart? Whatever it is, pick the most expensive one, not the most fitting.”

As he walked out of the castle gates, Richard suddenly felt a sense of ease that he couldn’t quite put to words. Turned out he didn’t need these external things to copy. He already knew that man very well.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Pei

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA