Book 5, Chapter 14

A Thorough Cleansing

News of Petron’s army being picked apart quickly spread through the surrounding lands. The Earl had managed to survive, but more than 5,000 warriors had been taken captive and it took his entire fortune to ransom them back.

Far fewer people dared to challenge Richard after this incident, while some of those on the list fled their territories or surrendered of their own accord. Richard had added in his announcement that those who didn’t resist would be handled with more leniency.

Every absconder’s territory was occupied, their families exiled as punishment for their betrayal. Richard’s prestige soared to the skies, and Sauron’s fell. There had been some more people who just couldn’t learn, but after another earl and three viscounts were killed nobody dared to try and “reason” with him anymore. The upper class was reminded once again that Richard was a true blue Archeron; anyone who stole from him would pay ten times the price for their folly.

The branches that would rather die than submit were shown no mercy. Richard made sure to kill off every important member, and the rest were sold to slavers and the territories taken over. He didn’t care whether he had enough justification; since this was internal strife in the family, the courts could not intervene.

This was the first time Richard had personally dealt with the traitors, and it had shown just how merciless he could be. His army was only a few thousand strong, but they were like the scythe of a reaper spreading death and destruction wherever they went.

When there were only two names left on the list, Richard was suddenly met with an unexpected enemy. Baron Sua had rushed out to battle, but he had only brought 2,000 men with him. Furthermore, there wasn’t a single rune knight in his entire army. With these low numbers, it seemed like he hadn’t mobilised a single one of Sauron’s soldiers.

“You want to do battle?” Richard looked at his opponent incredulously.

“Why not?” Sua’s eyes were blazing with determination, but they were not backed up by his army.

Richard looked behind him once more, “And with that number of troops?”

“How many should I have?”

“Sigh. With that quality, you wouldn’t be able to beat me even with ten times the number. You’ll just get crushed.”

“So what?” Sua suddenly laughed, his voice warping into an angry growl.

Richard looked closely at Sua before nodding in approval, waving for his knights to fan out. It was evident that he didn’t plan to use any tactics for this fight; once Sua made a move, his rune knights would just crush his army head-on.

The huge volume of rune knights gathered could suffocate someone to death, but Sua just turned back to his soldiers and cried out, “ARCHERONS! SHOW THIS ENEMY THAT WE HAVE THE COURAGE TO FIGHT TO THE DEATH!”

The war cry was met with few responses. Many of Sua’s troops instead started quivering with fear, knowing that they were being asked to march into their deaths. They knew they wouldn’t be able to stop the charge even if they gave up their lives; even the bravest of warriors would hesitate in such a situation.

The greatest problem for a commander was in finding soldiers willing to join the front lines in a battle against rune knights. That was a suicide mission that few were willing to take on.

Sua was surprised by his soldiers’ cowardice, but he immediately roared again and pointed his sword at the sky before bellowing for them to charge. He rushed out at the very front, not caring about how many followed behind.

Only a small portion of the army followed Sua in his charge, but half of them grew too intimidated to move before they even made it halfway. In the end, less than a hundred soldiers were left charging towards Richard’s rune knights.

This pathetic number was even fewer than the number of rune knights in the opposing army! There was only one end to this fight, but Sua and his footsoldiers still madly rushed forward with flames in their eyes. Richard was taken aback for a moment, moved by the courage of these enemies. Despite his distaste for the Baron, he could see that the youth was an Archeron through and through.

He raised his hand, causing his followers and the rune knights to grip their weapons tightly. Once it came down, they would charge forward and dismember the opposing force without the slightest hesitation. However, the hand never came down. He instead withdrew it, shouting out a command, “Catch them alive.”

Although shocked by the order, the followers and rune knights followed through. Capturing someone alive was much more difficult than killing them, but with the stark disparity in power, it wouldn’t be too hard. Sua was an exception, but the rune knights didn’t have to take care of him.

The baron’s red-hot eyes were fixated on Richard. From the moment he had even gathered his troops here, he had been prepared to die in battle. It was only when he was twenty metres away from Richard that he heard the rune knights crash into his soldiers from both sides. As he continued his charge, however, he suddenly felt like the sky went dark for a moment. An enormous shadow had enveloped his body.

He barely managed to turn in time to see a huge body falling towards him. It felt like a mountain was crashing down, giving him only a moment to slash with his sword before it crushed him with terrifying force. His sword sparked against the opponent’s armour.

When Tiramisu stood up cursing about a thorn, Sua’s entire body had been pushed into the ground. If not for the horse under him, he would have been crushed to death. The epic-grade sword was bent severely, almost broken as half of it had dug into the ogre’s abdomen. However, this was only a minor injury to someone so large.

The two-headed ogre had behaved nowhere close to a mage, relying purely on mass to leave Sua on the brink of death. There was no technique here, no finesse, but it was effective.

It took Sua a lot of effort to stand up, vision slowly returning, but there was a constant ringing in his ears. It took him great effort to realise that it was Richard in front of him. The world seemed to be spinning constantly, muscles so weak it was like he had just been dipped in boiling oil. However, he still managed to force himself forward.

Looking at Richard’s calm and collected gaze, Sua felt disappointment rising in his heart. Not much time had passed since their first encounter, and now a warrior like him didn’t even scare this mage in melee anymore.

He felt his entire body go limp and closed his eyes, “Do it. Kill me quickly.”

However, Richard just smiled, “No.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA