Book 5, Chapter 21

Accruing Fame

If they succeeded in defeating the Schumpeters, the Anan Family would be the first group to enter Faust since Gaton and his thirteen had forced their way in all those years ago. Having threatened them once before, the Mensas would suffer as much of a blow to their reputation as their allies. However, Duke Mensa was surprisingly quiet even though the Mensa armies were mobilised to join the defence.

On the other hand, Dario was just an embodiment of rage. His cries and shouts rang throughout the Schumpeter island while their armies were pulled back from their planes, but the total strength he could gather was pitiful. Even more infuriating was the fact that some of his commands were being ignored; his scheme to merge the family with the Mensas had been revealed, garnering dissent from many of the elders.

Traditionally, the nobles of the seventh layer of islands would send troops to stop the Anans while those from the sixth would provide appropriate aid to any side they backed. However, ‘appropriate’ had never been given a concrete definition; the Anans thus had fifteen rune knights and a hundred shadowspear knights marching amongst their ranks.

Faust broke into a huge commotion the moment this news broke out, doubts coming from all over. The power of the Anans’ elite force was basically doubled, and the implication was clear that any rune knights provided to the Schumpeters would be met in kind. However, the representative Richard sent to the assembly only had one thing to say: the Archerons would only cease interference if the Mensas and Josephs stopped all of their support to the Schumpeters.

The Josephs were fine— they were far too focused on themselves to meddle with external affairs right now— but the Mensas could not stop anymore. The army had already been mobilised, and Duke Mensa had already declared publicly that he would protect the Schumpeters to the death. The Duke thus emphasised his stand with an impassioned speech: if Richard wanted war, then so be it!

The envoy Richard had left behind only chuckled in response to the declaration, walking away without another word.

……

The very same day the year of protection from the Church of the Eternal Dragon came to an end, Richard’s portal from Faelor to Blackrose Castle was completed as well. Almost all of the defending troops were withdrawn from the floating island; only Fuschia and a few dozen soldiers were left behind to man the physical and magical defences in the place.

Richard even planned to bring Fuschia away with him in the future. The floating island was only a symbol, its value calculable in terms of offerings. Its safety did not depend on the number of soldiers, only Richard’s overall might. Even if the castle was breached, the Archeron tombs were protected by a legendary-grade enchantment that would hold until Richard’s boiling vengeance destroyed the offender.

If Gaton and his thirteen knights were still around, nobody would dare set their sights on the floating island even if there were just a bunch of old and disabled people there. Similarly, as long as the rune knights Richard had gathered were not harmed, nobody would be so stupid as to attack his island. Just as well, the Archerons were the only family crazy enough to waste powerful offerings to break off the edge of another family’s island.

……

The next few days were a flurry of events that almost nobody could take their eyes off. The Anans finally started moving towards Faust, displaying an intimidating military prowess as they defeated enemy after enemy along the way. However, nobody saw any signs of Richard’s rune knights or the shadowspear knights amongst the family’s troops.

While speculations were starting to run amok, Richard walked out of Blackrose Castle with a dozen rune knights and hundreds of shadowspear knights. Although these drones weren’t elites, every one was level 13; they were the latest creations of the level 9 broodmother. He also had 2,000 powerful cavalrymen follow behind, nearly a thousand of whom had been borrowed from Alice. Alice’s knights were lower-levelled than Richard’s, but they were veterans of the battlefield that were frightening in their own right. However, Richard’s goal in enlisting them was to convince them of his position as the head of the family.

Over the next few days, this army charged up and met the Mensas in battle.

Norland was not Faelor; the elite bats gave Richard a great advantage on the battlefield, but the Mensas had their own scouts as well. On top of that, Flowsand and her guardians could not participate due to the neutrality of the Church of the Eternal Dragon. However, Richard needed neither to display his prowess on the battlefield; his army was an intricate machine that heartlessly tore through the lives of its enemies. His orders seemed to be transmitted to every one of his knights at once, as the tide of soldiers ebbed and flowed with almost no warning until the opposing forces were ground to dust.

They fought nine battles in total over four days, and Richard won every single one of them.

The Mensas were losing soldiers at an astounding rate, while Richard’s rune knights collapsed one after the other. Duke Mensa was scared of bringing out his own rune knights to fight; he didn’t have the seemingly endless supply that Richard did. His troops were torn apart when they split up, and when they gathered together they were bypassed completely as the Mensa lands were razed.

The Duke considered just gathering an army to pounce upon Blackrose Castle, but quickly decided not to. Richard had made it known that there was a portal to Faelor present within, which meant an unknown number of soldiers would be waiting to stop a siege. Besides, attacking the ancestral territory of the Archerons could attract the ire of all the other Archeron lords including Goliath; if they teamed up to delay his army, then Richard could potentially turn the entire Mensa lands to ash before flanking in from behind.

The war thus continued with another four battles over the same number of days. Richard still won every single one. He lost nearly a hundred cavalrymen, including ten or so rune knights, while thousands of the Mensas’ most elite warriors perished in battle. All of the experienced generals of the Mensa Family met their defeat.

By this point, a little over ten thousand of the Mensa Family’s most powerful soldiers had met their end, while an equal number wouldn’t be able to return to the battlefield even if their wounds were healed. Richard had lost thirty rune knights while the Duke’s were unharmed, but still the old man didn’t dare to use his rune knight platoon to fight Richard.

It was only then that the Mensas realised what was happening. Richard’s plan had never been to coax out the rune knights; he was actually aiming for their core soldiers, depleting the assistance that the rune knight platoon would have. This would greatly increase the threat to these elites in any battle.

After an immensely tense meeting amongst the elders, the family finally sent a message to the assembly that they would withdraw from the battle and no longer interfere with the Anans heading to Faust. Once this announcement was made, another commotion broke out.

This battle would later come to be called the Eight Day War, the first of Richard Archeron’s many illustrious achievements. Another name was added to the list of famous Archeron generals, this one even ranked slightly higher than the goddess of war.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA