Book 5, Chapter 79

Mysteries Of The Godnest

With the prison looked over, Richard’s party had seen all it could within the church. Nyra had managed to figure out how to use the Smiting Ray, but the holy water had almost been exhausted by the attack on Richard and Lina. Another use would leave the church without any energy to sustain itself.

Some of the rune knights had been sent to scour the entire city, but they found nothing of much value. The city had enough resources to sustain 10,000 troops for several years, worth a total of a few million gold, but that came from such huge volumes that even the astral chrysalis couldn’t justify trips to and from Norland for sale.

Richard had them rest for a night, preparing to ascend the Godnest the next day. The night passed quickly, and the next morning he led all of his followers and a hundred rune knights up the path leading to the mountain. The route was long and circuitous, with the winds turning harsh the moment they left the confines of the City of Saints. The rune knights had thick robes draped over their armour; only Richard and his followers could resist the cold.

There was a long, spiralling path leading up the mountain, but Richard chose not to follow it as it would likely stretch over hundreds of kilometres. He instead chose to climb straight up, and remembering warnings written down to avoid flying at all costs, he ordered his subordinates to stay out of the sky. With the Smiting Ray in mind, he didn’t want to trigger any other weapons left behind by whatever race built the church.

It only took a few hundred metres for them to enter the clouds, the moisture so dense that it almost felt like wading through a large swab of cotton. The Godnest’s environment was extremely bizarre; the temperature here was well below freezing, but the moisture had not condensed. Clothes, robes, and armour were quickly drenched, and the water that was colder than ice caused the weaker rune knights to shudder as they walked up. Only with constant warmth spells could the entire troop continue upwards.

The same force that restricted spells near the City of Saints was present here as well. A gale spell could only disperse the clouds within a few dozen metres, and the clouds rushed back the moment the arcane effects came to an end. Considering the thousands of metres left to climb, it wasn’t a feasible option.

Richard found both his physical and arcane senses were restricted within this sea of clouds. As much as he tried, he couldn’t work on deciphering the runes of the Godnest on his way up. He eventually gave up, focusing on the climb. Even he was suffering after a few hours, and most of his followers were doing worse. Unfortunately, he was the only one amongst the group who had tempered himself in a battlefield of despair; a lot of people quickly started falling behind.

After a quarter day had passed, even Richard’s strongest followers were drifting apart. The ones closest to him were Asiris, Senma, and Tiramisu, with Waterflower and Flowsand’s group following right behind. The other followers were even worse, and the rune knights almost fifty metres away were starting to pant.

Asiris and Senma constantly exchanged glances of surprise. Although they hadn’t been to the Land of Dusk, their experiences from following behind Gaton were no worse. They could see just how strenuous it was for Richard to climb, but he silently continued walking at the same pace from start to end. This was not a question of strength so much as determination; to not even flinch over hours of bitter cold was far more difficult than it seemed.

Tiramisu was the exact opposite of Richard. His heads were bickering constantly as he climbed in bursts, saying he wanted to rest every few hundred metres. However, he never came to a complete halt nor did he let Richard get too far away. Unlike Richard, this did not come from will. The ogre was relying on pure strength of body to climb the mountain, his thick fat allowing him to maintain his climb.

The road seemed to have no end, but Richard did not panic and just continued to climb. Whenever his energy reserves fell below the threshold, he would activate the powers of his truename and pull energy from the void. With recuperation and consumption at a perfect balance, he could climb forever so long as he had the determination.

Determination was something that he had no lack of. Compared to waiting in one place for tens of days just to ambush a Daxdian general, this wait climbing the Godnest was like a walk in the park.

Hours continued to pass, and Richard continued to pull slightly ahead of his followers. At one point he suddenly stopped in his tracks, looking up at the endless clouds and thinking about something. As the seconds turned into minutes, his followers eventually caught up.

Once Asiris and Senma made their way over, Richard shifted his attention to take note of the sequence in which his followers arrived. Having Waterflower, Tiramisu, and Flowsand’s set stand to one end alongside the two knights, he turned to face Gangdor, “Take everyone else back.”

Gangdor immediately jumped and shouted, “No way, Boss! I can still climb, don’t throw me away!”

Richard shook his head, “You can climb up, but will you have the strength to go back? I don’t know how much longer this will take, and you’re starting to lose energy. Some of the rune knights won’t even be able to finish the climb, you’ll have to take charge.”

Gangdor looked down, finding that only a dozen-odd rune knights had made it here by now. The last of them could very well be over a kilometre away. Even some of the followers didn’t have an easy climb; Zendrall was relying on his warriors of darkness to bring him up. He eventually sighed in resignation, “Tell Waterflower to do it next time!”

“Just go!” Richard smiled wryly, almost kicking the brute down the mountain. Waterflower was a great assassin, but a leader? Just because she could use an army tactically didn’t mean she knew how to manage men.

Gangdor unwillingly led the rest down, his axe swaying left and right as his feet planted hard into the ground with every step. Richard brushed it off, pointing back up, “There’s something strange up above. We should have reached the peak of the Godnest long ago, but we haven’t even made it halfway. Space seems to be stretched here.”

“But the flow of time is normal,” Flowsand commented.

“I can also confirm that we are not trapped in an illusion,” Nyra added.

Only now did everyone understand the presence of these clouds. To see through the stretching of the space required one to be on the verge of understanding spatial laws.

“From the looks of it, we’ll need another ten hours at minimum. I have no problems with that, but what about you guys?”

The followers immediately looked at each other, and Tiramisu voiced his concern, “I’m fine, but… Master, should I carry you?”

At this point, only he and Waterflower still had the strength to ask that question.

Richard laughed, patting the ogre’s stomach with his staff, “I won’t have problems even if we had to climb half a week.”

The words were accompanied by a smile, but the responses were not. Everyone present knew just how terrifying Richard’s implications were.

“Anyway, let’s continue.” Richard turned around and continued to climb. The others could only grit their teeth and follow.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo