Book 5, Chapter 77

The True Ring Of Fate

Quickly glancing through the book of records, Richard had two of his rune knights open the heavy metal doors to the prison. It was pitch black within, but the expected stench was completely absent and an illumination spell revealed it to be quite clean. The entire construct was a thirty-metre-long hall with mostly empty prison cells on each end, with torture tools and dried blood in the deep end. There was a small room in the corner of the hall made from transparent screens, holding a fully naked man with messy hair covering his entire head. There were a number of daggers and swords of all shapes nearby, but most eye-catching was several metal wires hanging down from the ceiling and drilled into his head. These wires were then routed to alchemical apparatus outside the room.

The man felt strangely familiar to Richard, with long limbs and a waist slimmer than most men despite his bulging muscles. Just from looks one could tell he excelled at strength and agility, but the guards had all fought to the death so there was nobody to question about who he was. Some closer investigation revealed that his name was Mario Greenforest, one of the three uncrossed names in the record book, but that was it.

Richard went up to the apparatus and examined it, looking over the four handles and two buttons for a moment before raising his guard and pushing up one of the handles. The man behind the screen immediately shuddered and stood up, revealing strange golden eyes that were completely unfocused and seemed to lack all life.

One of the wires started sparking, and a dozen expressions immediately crossed the man’s face. Sadness turned to anger before that turned into insanity, and he just pointed at a sword lying on the floor to have it fly into his hand and glow brightly. He started moving around the closed room, hands swift like lightning as he slashed out repeatedly. Every movement was fast yet powerful, elegant yet efficient.

Elven swordplay! Richard’s heart skipped a beat. These skills were definitely different from what  he knew, but it was evident that they contained the essence of a powerful elven warrior.

Richard sighed inwardly at the expert’s fate, but he returned the handle to its original position before pushing a button. Another wire started sparking, and the man’s expression changed once again. He threw the sword to the ground before summoning a dagger and shortsword, rage filling his face. His aura seemed to shift as he roared, unleashing a flurry of berserk attacks with both arms as though he was surrounded by a thousand soldiers and horses. Each attack came at a different pace and angle, some glowing with light while the others were almost unnoticeable.

The followers grew more tense, with even Senma gripping the hilt of her sword. The elf seemed to be slashing wildly, but they knew exactly how powerful those attacks were. Every strike was unexpected and dangerous, capable of threatening a saint’s life. Gangdor’s reaction was the worst; just imagining how he would fare in such a battle, his body started dripping with cold sweat. As someone who excelled in brute strength, such skilful swordplay was the bane of his existence.

The elf’s eyes were still unfocused, as though he was in a nightmare from which he would never awake. Richard watched attentively as he showcased the best of his abilities, recording each and every movement for further study. While elven sword arts had great requirements for one’s bloodline, they were also focused around short bursts of high energy which was perfect for him to combine with Mana Armament and Lifesbane.

This puppet only seemed to be level 12 or 13, but those present could tell that his skill was far beyond that level. He had likely wasted away in this prison, slowly losing his strength until this was all that remained.

As the seconds turned into minutes, the elf started to flag. His expression grew worse while his slashes slowed down, and he constantly fell back as though he was being injured. However, his actual energy did not show any signs of waning; it was apparent that whatever illusion had taken him was a powerful one.

Suddenly the elf stood upright, his aura flaring up. His gaze was still lifeless, but everyone present felt the chilly intent in his expression as time seemed to stand still for a moment before the prison was lit aglow by an amber halo. Richard’s expression warped, but before he could shout out a warning the elf gripped his blades and flew several circles around the room. The light of the halo seemed to ripple like water as it spread out, forming several long gashes on the transparent screens blocking him within.

“The Ring of Fate…” Richard murmured, “So this is how it’s used…”

When Gaton had shown him the secret swords of Silvermoon, all the skills except Annihilation had seemed rather mediocre. The man had said that he had only seen the skill for the azure moon in person, while the others had been pieced together from various sources. Without any elvish blood, Gaton had only barely managed to recreate the seven sword skills.

Most elves had already been pushed out of Norland, now residing on a continent of their own called Lithgalen, the Ashen Greens. With no plans to go visit any time soon, Richard had never imagined that he would actually see one of the secret swords being displayed in person. This elf only had level 12 energy, but even a thousand ordinary troops would die to this attack.

Only now did he learn that the Ring of Fate had to be executed with both hands, and the true power of the attack lay in the gathering of moonforce and not internal energy. A bit of practice would quickly give him a similar amount of skill with the secret sword, bringing it up to par with his use of Annihilation.

At this point, the elf lost all strength and fell back to his knees. He was already dying in his dream, no longer able to stand up. Richard hesitated a little, but he quickly started trying new combinations of the handles and buttons to see if he could display any more of the secret swords.

It seemed like every combination triggered a different kind of dream, evoking various responses that could be studied and learnt from. This apparatus wasn’t revolutionary, its functions could be performed better by someone like Nyra, but unlike with Nyra this was visible to everyone and didn’t need a rare soul shepherd taking charge.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo