Book 4, Chapter 169

The New Ruler

The old mage did his best to calm himself down and raised his voice, “Don’t be afraid! Richard only has 500 cavalrymen!”

By this point in time, Richard’s army had fully revealed itself and was galloping down the main path. They were grouped into a tight formation with five knights per row, their collective murderous aura almost able to frighten one to death.

As he watched the familiar gates of Blackrose Castle draw closer, Richard felt a sense of ruefulness within. However, he didn’t get much of a chance to immerse himself within the nostalgia; Asiris who was spearheading the charge next to him suddenly put a hand out, “We cannot go closer, Lord Richard. We have already entered the range of Discra’s Ire; if we go any further ahead, the Deepsea Tip will have maximum power. Even I will not be able to guarantee your safety!”

“It’s fine. Move to five hundred metres away and line up!” Richard waved Asiris off.

While most of Richard’s troops immediately followed the command, Senma and Asiris frowned. “Lord Richard!” Asiris continued, “Discra’s Ire is a legendary ballista, the Deepsea Tip is equal to the full-power attack of a legendary being!”

“I’m aware. But they still need to launch the attack if they want to hurt me.” Richard looked confident as ever as his hand patted his chest. In the pocket closest to his heart, right next to the destiny crystal that never left his side, was an intricate metal component with numerous magic arrays on it. It was so complicated even he couldn’t understand most of its functions, but without it Discra’s Ire could not be used. As such, it was called the Eye of the Storm.

The army thus continued moving forward, only halting when it was 500 metres away from the castle before it spread out into a horizontal formation. This was close enough for most of the army to clearly see the top of the walls.

They could see the councillors all leant over the ramparts, surprisingly quiet given the situation. Even the old president had stopped breathing. “Goodness…” one of them eventually groaned, “Are those… rune knights?”

“My eyes must have gone bad, how could there be an entire row of rune knights?”

At the very front of Richard’s army was an entire 150 rune knights! The line was so long that anyone would feel despair at the sight, and the resplendent lights shining from their bodies guaranteed that these rune knights weren’t weak. The old president almost couldn’t breathe anymore, but he suddenly shouted and rushed up the staircase of the keep.

At the top of the keep was a large, open firing platform with a revolving disc that supported the body of Discra’s Ire. The soldiers guarding the ballista pulled down the cloth covering the enormous machine when they heard the shout, ready to activate it, but their numbers were few and movements unpanicked. There were even two that pulled the cloth in opposite directions in the midst of their panic.

“Bring out the Deepsea Tip! Don’t bother with the other usele— damn it, what are you doing? Quick, get the cover off!” The old mage charged to the control platform for the ballista and took a few deep breaths, preparing to take control of the legendary siege engine. The cover was finally pulled off, and the Deepsea Tip was lifted.

The president felt extremely glad that he hadn’t done something foolish like selling off the legendary bolts in secret. If not, he would have been at a complete loss today. Of course, his mind had twisted the series of events. He truly had wanted to sell, but he just didn’t have the right. While Sauron didn’t care about the ordinary items like furniture, selling such a powerful weapon would definitely not be allowed by the Marquess.

Damn this Richard! Damn that Sauron! Why was there no mention of there being 150 rune knights? Where did the kid even get so many of them from? While he was thinking this, the old president’s entire body trembled. At this moment, the voice in his mind was screaming for him to kill Richard. Only by doing so could he get through this. Richard had already mentioned that anyone left on the council during his arrival would be executed.

The Deepsea Tip was five metres long, needing an entire six soldiers working together to just lift. However, as the soldiers got on the revolving platform they were all stunned, not knowing where to place the bolt. Discra’s Ire was a complicated alchemic machine, its aiming, loading, and shooting all performed through a combination of mechanical and magical forces. There was almost no need to manually move the parts at all. The ballista should have ejected the bolt-drawer automatically the moment they got on, but it now lay dormant without any way to place the bolt within.

By this point, the president had realised that something was off. The arrays controlling Discra’s Ire were still dark despite him pouring mana into them, and the ballista wasn’t activating at all. Without the aid of mechanics and magic, it was impossible to manipulate this enormous bolt thrower that weighed several tonnes.

He quickly pulled open a section close to the base and squealed in desperation, “The Eye of the Storm! Where is the Eye of the Storm!”

News of Discra’s Ire being unusable spread like wildfire throughout Black Rose Castle, causing the chaos within to go up another level.

The councillors, nobles, and generals on the battlements quickly ran to their rooms, most of them quickly packing their things before clambering onto their horses to escape through the back doors. However, the narrow path had grown so congested that they erupted into a panic. However much they tried to push through, the crowd didn’t even budge.

Blackrose Castle had a considerably large courtyard meant for training and army drills. Now, however, it was overrun with a bunch of crude tents that made it seem like a slum. However, it was surprisingly clean at second glance and there was no stench of poverty filling the air. All sorts of people were sitting around the place, some looking burly, some lithe, but they all had an air of power to them. Even the seemingly weak, beautiful women were given wide berth here; the perverts that formed part of the new guards of the place also grew careful in their presence.

A burly man walked out of one of the tents and glared at the flustered councillors, spitting on the floor right in front of them, “Just a bunch of cowardly whores!”

The words were spoken very loudly, but none of the councillors dared to pick a fight with him. Every one of the warriors waiting in the tents was at least qualified to become a regular soldier of Richard’s, and with plentiful experience on the battlefield each one was a force to be reckoned with. Even the guard captain was unwilling to provoke these warriors, especially after they realised the council was duping them and left the guards.

The captain knew that they were volcanoes waiting to erupt at any time, but there was nothing he could do. There were far too many free Archerons gathered here; if they erupted, they would easily take out his entire army and take over the castle. Hiding amongst the soldier candidates were the potential rune knights that were here for Richard as well. The captain didn’t know exactly how many of them there were, but it was not a small number.

Outside of Blackrose, Richard watched the councillors, other nobles, and ordinary soldiers atop the castle walls with intent, “I am Richard, Richard Archeron. You should all know my relationship with Marquess Gaton very well. The Mensas tried to stop me along the way, as did Marquess Sauron and Earl Goliath. Still, I stand here at the appointed time!”

Amplified by magic, Richard’s voice resounded through every corner of the castle, “Blackrose Castle is a symbol of Archeron pride. Marquess Gaton spent his days only strengthening its glory, but now it is in the hands of a bunch of useless cowards! These fellows call themselves a family council, but since when has the Archeron throne been won on the negotiation table? Bold men and women of fire and steel, since when have you grown able to tolerate a bunch of monkeys that have never entered the battlefield ruling over you?

“Warriors and mages, experts who carry the Archeron name; where has your courage fled? Those who gathered here for my sake, where are you? Show me your valour, show me your glory! If Sauron were truly qualified for the Archeron throne, he should be here right now for a duel to the death! Where is the coward?!” The voice resounded like thunder in the skies of the castle, surging into the hearts of every Archeron. The gathered free warriors started to stand up one after the other, staring into the skies in the direction of Richard’s voice.

By this point, Richard was flying even higher than Discra’s Ire atop the keep. His voice seemed to be the only thing in the world, “Archerons! Gaton may be gone, but that is fine; I shall lead you instead. Follow me, and I will plant out flaming warflags on countless planes!”

Richard’s hand pointed upwards at the crimson sunset sky, at the stars that were said to be reflections of the myriad planes, “From today, I, Richard, am the head of the Archerons.”

Blackrose Castle immediately burst out into chaos. The free Archeron warriors surged out of the tents like a tidal wave, storming key locations of the castle. The guards that had once served Gaton pounced on the buffoons they had been forced to serve with, tearing them apart. In only a few minutes, the soldiers of the council who could outdrink anyone at a tavern were left kneeling on the ground as they begged for their lives.

Richard could see the chaos within the castle from his position, and he knew that the war to recover Azan was over. In truth, this war had ended the moment he stepped out of Faelor with an unprecedented number of rune knights. There was no need for him to siege the sturdy fortress at all; it would open up for him of its own accord. This was just another set of ants that he was finally bothering to crush.

In a rather spacious room within Blackrose Castle, the guard captain was bathed in blood with his back against the stone walls. In front of him were five intimidating Archerons of varying appearances, each bordering the power of a saint. While the captain himself was a saint, against a group of experienced fighters he had no way to escape.

As he watched the encirclement grow tighter and tighter, the captain flashed a pained smile, “I can take down one of you with me, but I don’t want to do that. Tell Richard that if he’s willing, he should…”

Halfway through his words, the captain suddenly stopped his demands. He instead sighed deeply, turning his sword around and thrusting it into his own heart.

The free warriors nearby were stunned. Having fought him for a long while, they believed his statement that he could take one of them down. However, years spent adventuring had numbed them to the idea of death. In fact, the person unlucky enough to be killed wouldn’t even feel all that said; they knew the rest would definitely avenge them, and dying in battle was the final destination of every war-blooded Archeron anyway.

Richard had already descended from the skies at this point, standing with his hands behind his back as the portcullises slowly lifted to open the passage. However, he was in no hurry to enter and instead looked behind himself, noticing the green smoke rising from the city far away. This meant the area was peaceful, with no sign of an army whatsoever.

“You disappoint me, Sauron,” he said softly with a shake of the head, “Alright. ADVANCE!”

The shadowspear knights took the lead, crossing through the gatehouse and into the castle’s courtyard. The rune knights followed behind, while Richard and his followers entered at the end. Numerous free Archeron warriors lined both sides of the road, while others occupied the arrow towers, ramparts, gatehouse, and other key areas.

As these warriors looked at the rune knights passing through, flames surged in their eyes. They could be like that in the future! Richard’s entrance had painted a wondrous picture for them.

All the councillors, nobles, and any others of notable status in the castle had been rounded up in the plaza. Basically every rebel who hadn’t been killed yet was here, awaiting Richard’s sentencing.

Free warriors were always welcome in the Archeron Family. Many who once held high ranks in the army stood up of their own accord for Richard to inspect them, quick but orderly. Richard nodded at them as he entered the plaza before sweeping his eyes across the dozen-odd councillors. These people left him disappointed as well; not a single one of them was passable for an Archeron. They didn’t even dare to meet his gaze despite imminent death. However, he just sighed. This was only to be expected; Sauron wouldn’t choose a tool with the intelligence or the courage to try and refuse his dominance. Besides, Sauron himself hadn’t possessed the guts to take the throne even when Gaton had gone missing.

The head of the Archerons… This was an extremely glorious title now, but not many knew that there was a volcano ready to erupt beneath the throne.

A youth in noble clothing suddenly charged out from the crowd and knelt on the ground just before the swords that the free Archerons used to bar his movement. “Lord Richard!” he shouted, “Do you still remember me?”

Richard waved for the guards to put down their swords and smiled, “Of course, Peter. If you hadn’t given me the Eye of the Storm, this siege wouldn’t have been nearly as easy as it was. Alright now, get up, I’ll think of a way to adequately reward your contributions.”

It was only then that Asiris, Lina, and Senma understood exactly why Richard had been so confident in the face of Discra’s Ire. It turned out that he hadn’t been waiting idly while his followers’ equipment was being made, instead arranging for many things on the sidelines. The youth that had just come of age wasn’t just a capable general; he was also growing by the day in his role as a lord.

The old president of the council was within the crowd as well. When he saw the youth being praised by Richard, he nearly fainted. He had never expected that the vain youth he employed as an assistant for lack of choice would actually double cross him. Nobody could have thought that the bumbling idiot who couldn’t even prepare tea properly was capable of stealing the Eye of the Storm and smuggling it to Richard.

After making arrangements to reward Peter, Richard ignored the council members and floated up to the keep. Replacing the Eye of the Storm within Discra’s Ire, he headed to the sides of the platform and narrowed his eyes as he gazed towards the sea and skies.

……

A few dozen stakes had been set up on the path to Blackrose Castle the very next day, each one holding the head of a councillor or an associated noble or general. However, a head that should have been more eye-catching than the council president was not present— the captain of the castle guard. The man had obtained an ordinary grave on the hill behind the castle, buried just like a normal Archeron warrior.

For the first time, Richard hadn’t gone through with a public threat. He had let the captain’s family live.

His deadline for the council hadn’t been arbitrary,  so today was a rather special day. This very day a year ago, Gaton had led his army and entered the Rosie Plane. Now, Richard had recaptured Blackrose Castle and become the head of the Archerons. Sauron, Goliath, and Alice all remained silent in answer to Richard’s proclamation.

They had accepted their new ruler.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA