Book 5, Chapter 46

New Normal(2)

Richard dragged the skaven sculpture into a warehouse next door. Inside was a row of other finished sculptures of varying size, and after placing it among them he left a long stroke on the wall behind. Every sculpture had a cut behind it of varying sizes, and this newest one was the straightest of the lot.

He then brushed away the dust on his body, casually trimming his hair and beard using the same lafite dagger. Packing the necessary equipment and a few belongings, he handed more runes to Lawrence before leaving the city for yet another journey.

Seven days later, he was already a thousand kilometres away from the capital of the Unsetting Sun. In front of him was an enormous crack in the earth that extended hundreds, even thousands of kilometres on each end. The valley was so deep that one couldn’t even see the ground below, only crimson flames billowing out from within. This wound of the plane served as a natural barrier, demarcating the territory of the Unsetting Sun from what was known as the dark wilderness. The wilderness was the part of this plane under the control of neither Norland nor Daxdus, so far from both sides’ strongholds that even legendary beings needed time to teleport away. This was a true playground of death where only the strongest would even dare enter.

The greatest threat from the dark wilderness wasn’t even the Daxdians. The ruined time here was so chaotic that the rifts would occasionally pull in creatures from planes unknown, mutating them along the way. Most such creatures died within moments, but the few that survived were so powerful that even timeforce could not easily destroy them.

Richard observed the crack for a few minutes. Even its narrowest part was more than ten kilometres wide, and the only way to get to the other side was teleportation or flight. However, he wasn’t crazy enough to enter the dark wilderness just yet; running parallel to the crack, he eventually found a small patch of broken earth and buried himself amongst the stones and soil.

An entire day passed with no food, no water, and no movement before a powerful aura suddenly enveloped the surrounding region. A hundred-metre-long monster with an oxen head and snake body whistled past the crack, dozens of other Daxdians rushing along beside it. Even tens of kilometres away Richard could feel the enormous pressure from its existence.

A cold consciousness scanned across the area but didn’t find anything. After some time passed, the forces of Daxdus slowly crossed the crack and headed away.

Richard still waited patiently, eating and drinking every other day for almost a week as he stayed put. He saw five batches of Daxdians crossing the crack, some entering the Unsetting Sun and the others heading back out to the dark wilderness. A few Norlanders passed by as well. However, nobody discovered him hiding beneath the surface; with his nature affinity now at grade 3, he could merge almost seamlessly into his surroundings. Even legendary beings wouldn’t be able to find him if they weren’t looking specifically.

It was only when a vigorous enclave centaur captain jumped across the crack that he made a move. The centaur’s jump brought him right towards the patch where Richard was hidden, and its heavy steel armour clanged loudly as he started to charge across the earth. This one was even stronger than the one Beye had killed all that time ago, its mane hard as steel wires and muscles bulging despite the sheer weight of its armour.

Richard grabbed the Twin of Destiny, instantly bringing a bolt of blood lightning down from the sky. The bolt struck the centaur right across the back, causing him to howl in pain as he drew short spears from both sides. It looked around furiously, looking for the ambusher.

However, a golden coffin shone right above its head before slamming down, the power of light restricting its movements while causing him to howl non-stop. Another weaker bolt of lightning fell from the sky, crashing down upon the same location as the previous wound and opening it up much further.

The centaur captain roared in rage, finally discovering the flow of mana underground. Looking down at Richard who had just stood up from a shallow pit, he bellowed and charged forward.

Richard felt like a mountain was about to come down on him, the four front hooves crashing through the air while leaving shockwaves in their wake. However, they never met their target; he quickly fled into the horizon.

The captain gave chase; having killed multiple grand mages in the past, he knew that the Norlanders were nothing but bags of flesh if one was up close. When sparks flew across Richard’s body and he seemed to disappear under its legs, the captain just smirked and continued to crash down. He knew grand mages couldn’t teleport in an instant; normally, they just faked it to buy themselves some time. A powerful strike nearby would break the spatial channel they hid themselves in and nearly destroy them as it pulled them out.

A muffled groan sounded out from behind the centaur as Richard was tossed towards the ground. He immediately got up, but his abdomen was cramped to the point that he couldn’t utter a word. To any normal mage, this would almost certainly spell death.

Thankfully, he was coming to rely less and less on incantations these days. Popping Carnage out of its case, he activated Mana Armament and sliced across the hind leg of the enemy before rolling away.

The centaur captain just smirked as he turned around to face Richard. This wound was only as wide as a human palm, basically nothing compared to his four-metre tall body. However, the wound suddenly ripped apart seemingly on its own, turning into a mutilated hole as big as a human head. Blood gushed out from the wound like a waterfall.

Richard whistled and launched himself up, stabbing into the creature’s humanoid chest. The armour here was quite thick, but Carnage managed to open up a thin slice on the captain’s chest. Before the bewildered centaur could even make sense of his earlier wound, this new one rapidly split apart as well.

Richard continued to fade in and out like a ghost, his strokes as light as a feather yet leaving giant gashes in on the captain’s body. Blood preceded flesh, and the flesh was followed by organs. Every stroke of his right now had ten or eleven superimposed with it. The frightening aftereffects were activated with almost every attack, revealing the true horrors of Lifesbane.

Provoked by the immense pain, the centaur captain grew furious. Its spears started sweeping in all directions, eventually managing a strike on Richard to toss him more than ten metres away. A streak of blood was left flying behind. However, before he could capitalise on the opportunity Richard had opened the Book of Holding and pushed another Tomb of Light and a Stall spell down on him. Buffing his own speed, Richard distanced himself in a moment.

The wounds on the centaur’s body were still spurting blood, his sturdy body eventually starting to grow even more sluggish. However, Richard didn’t approach him at all, instead circling around while launching bolts of lightning one after the other. The Book of Holding was eventually exhausted, but Richard still didn’t stop the bombardment. Eventually the captain was covered all over by cuts and wounds, but one had to wonder just how much blood he could shed as he remained standing even after Richard had depleted most of his mana.

Richard thus took up his sword once more, starting another barrage of slashes. The centaur captain let out a hysterical howl before finally collapsing, but at this point Richard himself was too tired to harvest the body. The heart could potentially be an intermediate offering, but seeing another Daxdian rise into the skies from across the crack he just shook his head and fled back towards the capital of the Unsetting Sun.

The newcomer was a hideous devil. His eyes flickered as he looked in Richard’s direction, but the sight of the centaur on the ground made him give up on a chase. He launched himself straight at the body, chewing on it ferociously.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: YJH

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA