Book 5, Chapter 38

Ambush

As he opened his eyes from the meditation, Richard immediately felt a wave of fatigue overcome his body. The process of absorbing even a sliver of a plane’s origin was much more challenging than he had first assumed. Thankfully his astral affinity trunk had managed to do it, even if at a huge cost. The speed of his mana restoration would take a huge dip until the tree recovered, making Sacrifice much more risky to use.

But then, the tree might just get to grade 5 afterwards. Thinking of that, he gulped down the last piece of meat before heaving a long sigh. His stomach churned in rejection of the disgusting excuse for food, but he just suppressed the feeling and squinted as he thought over his next course of action.

The first thing to do was finding a safe place to replenish the spells in his Book of Holding. The fourth page hadn’t increased the number of spells that could be stored but instead increased their strength from grade 7 to grade 8. This meant that he could have a total of five grade 8 spells that he could cast almost instantly in battle.

However, the battle just now left him hesitating over which spells to put in. He had encountered his fair share of Daxdians so far, and from the ursa warlord to the black sorcerer and tomiller devils, every single one had a decent degree of resistance to magic. However, none of them were even close to the monster he had just faced, nor did their physical defences compare. The creature’s only problem lay in its lack of offence.

Even worse was the fact that Daxdians had a natural resistance towards darkness, chaos, and fire. His abyssal flames were significantly less effective on them, and in a battlefield without any cannon fodder the grade 8 area-of-effect spells were basically useless as well. He would rather store a grade 7 lightning bolt with enhancements than those.

Another problem he was now thinking about was his original choice for the first grade 9 spell he would learn. He had wanted to use Wail of the Banshee because of his powerful soul and the spell penetration rune, but with no weaklings to wipe out en masse the spell had little use in the Land of Dusk. It would have some effect on a legendary being, but not much.

Just as he was immersed in his thoughts, the ground shook once more. Realising this was likely another battle at the Fort of Dawn, he just shook his head and continued on his path.

However, this time the vibrations refused to stop. They grew louder and heavier, to the point that they even knocked him off balance a little. Richard opened his eyes wide in shock; just what level did one need to be at to absorb so much origin energy from another plane?

He immediately decided that it was worth the risk to form a new compass, but what he saw there caused him to freeze. The needle that pointed to the Fort of Dawn had already turned faintly golden, and although the colour was wavering a little it managed to grow brighter with time. There was no mistaking it; the Fort of Dawn had been won, and the counterattacks were being resisted as well!

As calm as he normally was, Richard couldn’t help but feel frenzied for a moment. However, he quickly realised that he was growing muddle-headed. He frowned and shook his head, pulling out the Book of Holding and starting to flip through it like it was any other book to while away the time.

The shaking of the ground eventually slowed down, the cries of the plane growing softer with time. Richard’s surroundings grew eerily quiet, even the ever-present winds dying out completely.

No wind meant no smell. Richard scanned across the uneven terrain and couldn’t find anything unusual, but after a casual stretch he picked up the Twin of Destiny and charged ahead. A lime-green fog covered the land dozens of metres away, quickly expanding thirty metres in all directions. Acid Fog wasn’t a powerful spell, taking ages to kill even the weakest of human warriors, but that was not the purpose of this casting. Richard charged straight into the fog, using it as cover.

The sudden movements alerted the ambushers. Several skaven leapt out of their hiding place and charged forward, a few rushing into the fog while the others skirted around it to flank to the other side. A tall, slender shadow appeared from afar, a wanga black sorcerer. It raised its brittle arm as it muttered a curse under its breath.

It was then that Richard burst out, back in the direction he came from. The skaven who had followed him in tried to turn around, but as their claws dug through the ground it took them a few seconds to overcome the inertia and even stop.

The black sorcerer was stunned beyond words, even stopping his curse as he saw Richard charging in his direction. There were a few hundred metres between the two, but his original spell definitely wouldn’t finish in time. He immediately changed tactics, starting to fall back as he launched a barrage of weaker spells in Richard’s direction.

Richard’s entire body was sparking as he charged at his maximum speed. He evaded the spells that he could, blocking the ones that homed in on him. Those that could not be blocked he just charged through, flipping through the Book of Holding in the meanwhile to launch a bolt of crimson lightning on the black sorcerer’s head.

The black sorcerer screamed in pain, unable to continue his spellcasting as dark fumes started to waft off his body. His resistance to magic wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t enough to take on the equivalent of a grade 8 spell. Now knowing that Richard could hurt him, he changed tactics and cast numerous barriers while he tried to delay.

A second bolt of crimson struck down and destroyed half of the sorcerer’s defences in one go. The Daxdian panicked, quickly trying to strengthen the rest of his spells, but it was too late. Richard had already covered the distance.

A beautiful sword glint flashed as the elven sword sliced upwards, carving through the black sorcerer and still managing to push Richard a few metres into the air before its glow dimmed. An intense aura of life overpowered the battlefield, as though a candle had been lit in the dark.

Richard staggered a bit as his feet hit the ground, but he continued to run forwards. The tall, lanky build of the black sorcerer behind him suddenly tore apart at the waist, the wound gushing out ink-black blood. Explosions ensued as the upper body was popped straight off, leaving the rest to stand aimlessly for a moment before crashing to the ground.

The black sorcerer’s upper body still wriggled forward as it gurgled in extreme pain, but the effects of Lacerate weren’t done yet. More of the body continued to tear off in small strips. Even with the sheer tenacity of a Daxdian, the sorcerer would not survive this blow.

There were two skaven in the direction Richard had charged. However, he buffed his speed even further with a spell until he was only a gust of wind that blew past them. The elven sword shone brightly once more, and the two rat-creatures screamed for their lives as their innards spilled out from enormous gashes on their bodies.

Six more skaven rushed behind Richard in a rage, not even sparing a single glance at the lifeless bodies of their comrades, but Richard had managed to open up a huge distance.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA