An Upstart’s Tactics(2)
Senma flashed a charming smile, picking up her lance and spurring her horse to the frontlines to stand in front of the spear formation of the knights. This position was not new to her, but it was the first time she was charging into battle without knowing any of those following behind.
She lifted her lance into the air, a milky white light flowing down over her body interspersed with flashes of crimson. When she looked at the enemy formation ahead, the eyes of the Blood Paladin had lost all their charm, now filled with a boundless lust for blood.
Gangdor and Tiramisu unwillingly made their ways to the two other corners of the formation, and with a single mental command the elite shadowspear knights immediately grouped up into a square formation behind to protect the mages and clerics.
Two figures rose into the sky from the enemy formation as well, a grand mage and a saint. This was a show from Earl Berino, not to be outdone by Richard’s offensive formation. However, Asiris suddenly flashed a bone-chilling smile, “They dare fly in front of me?”
He flipped through his large tome as he spoke, chanting a few cryptic words. A black gas similar in colour to the cover of the book suddenly surrounded the grand mage and saint, robbing them of their ability to float. They could only flail their limbs in futility as they dropped straight down, the dull thuds that sounded all the way over making it apparent that the fall had been hard. Asiris then closed the tome and looked behind, “Those two are fools. Don’t you think so as well, Zangru?”
Standing behind Asiris was Zangru. The inhumanly handsome man looked absolutely terrible, just humming without a reply. For some reason the Dark Priest made him feel unbearably comfortable, as though he had turned into a frog being eyed by a snake.
However, Zangru couldn’t retreat either. Behind him were Nyra and Io, both now at level 16. Even at level 12 the soul shepherd had been able to control him easily, and now it was no contest. The battle priest’s radiance was far too dazzling as well, aura pulsing with divine energy as though afraid that nobody would know who he was. The power made Zangru extremely uncomfortable, but Io didn’t care about the bewitching man who had stolen the eyes that should have been on him.
Zangru now laid extremely low in the party, as though he was resigned to everything. All of his fire had been shaved off in the broodmother’s lair, and even though the torture didn’t harm his abilities much he had to bow down to the group of monsters that followed Richard.
Richard himself had no time to care about the fellow’s emotions. He had already unsheathed the elven longsword, raising it high into the sky. Once all buffs were in place, the long blade pointed forward.
Senma howled as energy enveloped her entire being, horse picking up pace as she pointed her lance straight at the enemy formation. The current of steel behind her forged ahead, matching her step for step. By the time Richard lifted his blade once more, Berino’s troops had been split down the middle.
All that was left was to pursue the stragglers, but with the outcome decided Richard didn’t stay for much time. He released everyone right away, leading his troops forward until the last light of day faded away. Left behind in the battlefield was a lone frame with an earl’s corpse.
News travelled even faster than the charge of the rune knights. Before night had even fallen, everyone who had wanted to pick a fight had hidden away in the blink of an eye. Although the Berinos were only a branch of the Mensas, their military capabilities were not insignificant. However, Richard had shown the sheer power of his rune knights: the charge of what was basically 150 saints couldn’t be stopped without an equivalent elite force.
However, there were still a fair number of people who wanted to cause trouble in the shadows. Richard’s army marched at night as well as day, only resting for less than four hours at a time before moving on. They left a trail of wooden stakes behind them with assassins on each, one even containing a saint.
After a few days, those troubles disappeared as well.
While Richard was heading south, Earl Alice suddenly announced some news that shook the entire Sacred Alliance. She was now Richard’s partner and closest ally, so anyone who made an enemy of him would be making an enemy of her as well.
Alice’s territory was located in a rather sensitive region not too far from the core fiefs of both Sauron and Goliath. Her army had already been mobilised, slowly heading towards the borders of both. Everyone knew she only had the might to attack one of the territories, but nobody knew what direction she would turn once she reached the crossroads. Right now, both Sauron and Goliath had emptied their territories of military forces, and the generals left behind were definitely no match for the goddess of war. She would certainly defeat them in one go.
Sauron’s roars resounded through the empty hall once more. The throne he had used for decades was even twisted in his rage. However, the man quickly regained his calm and approached a map of Faust, staring at it solemnly for a long time. Eventually, he called back the head messenger and issued commands for most of the dispatched troops to return immediately. Those already near Azan were not to attack Richard of their own accord, and the rune knights had to rush back overnight.
When Sauron’s orders were sent to the frontlines, Sua was busy smashing everything in the tent he was occupying. He almost seemed to be in a trance, documents and furniture flying everywhere. All soldiers had long since escaped, not even daring to breathe in his presence. Right now, the baron was in a state where he could kill.
A little ways away from the tent was a separate small encampment that was more luxurious than normal. This was where the rune knights were stationed, each one treated equally to a high-ranking officer of the army. This camp hid seventy rune knights in total; Marquess Sauron had taken out all of the power he had amassed over the past years.
“Why? Why?! WHY?! Why did Alice decide on that kid? If not for her, he’d already be dead! They’re actually becoming a couple? How old is Richard, that filthy whore!” Sua’s bellows passed through all obstructions, travelling outside the tent. However, this time he wasn’t questioning Richard’s qualifications.
The tent’s flap suddenly opened, and a high-ranking general entered. Sua might have been in a bad mood, but this was his most capable general and one with the Archeron surname at that. He could only suppress his rage, “Yes?”
A faint aura of gloom flitted across the general’s expression, but it was quickly wiped away, “I have two reports, my Lord. The sentinels have caught sight of Richard, he is only ten kilometres away.”
“What? Get in formation, we’re going to attack!” Sua rushed to pick up his sabre, heading outside the tent.
However, the general stopped him, “We just received orders from the Marquess that all frontline troops are to stand ground and await orders. We are not to make the first move against Richard, and the rune knights are to rush back immediately.”
“What did you say?” Sua actually went blank for a moment, unable to comprehend the man’s words.
Hearing the general icily repeat Sauron’s commands once more, he calmed down, “Alright, but we still have to get the troops ready for battle. Richard is approaching, what if he attacks us first?”
This the general agreed with, so an urgent horn sounded and the soldiers assembled. The rune knights were sent to a nearby vantage point under Sua’s orders, while the soldiers occupied both sides. This way, an attacker would have to deal with a powerful charge.
It didn’t take long for Richard to arrive. The ration between both sides was still 5,000 to 500, but this time there were seventy rune knights on Sua’s side. Still, Richard only waved his troops to a stop when they were only half a kilometre away, looking up the mound towards Sua, “I didn’t expect to meet you here again, Baron. What, are you planning to fight me?”
Sua snickered, “It’s not like this land falls under Azan, I don’t need anyone’s approval to station my troops here.”
“That’s true!” Richard nodded before bursting into laughter, “Never mind me, I just thought you’d grown the balls to fight me head-on. Then again, this should be no surprise; you don’t have nearly enough of a numbers advantage to fight me. Why would you dare battle when it’s only ten to one?”
Richard’s vigorous laughter caused Sua to pale. The baron tasted blood as his teeth broke skin. The difference in armies wasn’t as great as Richard was implying— 150 rune knights definitely couldn’t be stopped by ordinary troops— but in the eyes of a spectator it really did look like he didn’t dare to attack despite a ten to one advantage. He could only let Richard humiliate him.
Richard casually waved his hand, and groups of elite shadowspear knights moved out until they were only fifty metres away from the mound. A javelineer could easily hit a target dead-on at this range, and the soldiers in the front row could even see the fine design on the drones’ armour.
The humiliation was almost too much to bear. The rune knights atop the mound were spitting fire from their eyes, ready to charge down the mound and smash through the enemy. The mounts seemed to sense the fury of their owners, pawing at the soil with their steel hooves. Looking at Richard’s half-smile, Sua’s world turned red. He suddenly grabbed his sabre to draw it out of its sheath, “Knights, Cha—”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA